The NHL Has Created A Monster!
Bovada welcomes back Tony X, @soIoucity, who gives his insights on the NHL’s monster… the Vegas Golden Knights!
A monster has been created in the NHL, and they go by the name of the Vegas Golden Knights. It’s 2023 and the Knights are on their way to their second Stanley Cup appearance in only six years of existence. It’s unheard of for an expansion team to have this much success so early in their start. It’s a small sample size that will balance out over the upcoming years, but as of right now, the Golden Knights also hold the title of highest point percentage among active NHL teams in the NHL, sitting at .622%.
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The next team on that list, the Montreal Canadiens, is a whole 50 points below them, at .581%, which over a season would equate to about five wins. Let’s take a look at the accomplishments of the two previous NHL expansion teams, the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have a combined 44 seasons in the NHL.
Overall – 22 seasons
Playoff appearances: 13 out of 22 (59% of the time)
Cup appearances: 0 (0% of the time)
Looking at these numbers for all three teams involved is a good study into teams in each category: elite, good, and bad. The Minnesota Wild has had a pretty above-average start to their career over the last 20 years. The only thing lacking from them is that deep playoff run. They’ve made the playoffs about 60% of the time, but they’ve only made it to the conference finals once out of the thirteen times. The regular season consistent wins are there, but just not the playoff wins.
Overall – 22 seasons
Playoff appearances: 6 out of 22 (27% of the time)
Cup appearances: 0 (0% of the time)
Then you have the Blue Jackets, who have struggled, to say the least, in their time in the NHL, making the playoffs only about 27% of the time, with four of the six appearances resulting in elimination in the first round. In their first six seasons, both the Wild and Blue Jackets only reached the playoffs a combined two times, with both of those appearances coming from the Wild. The Blue Jackets didn’t make it in until year eight.
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Vegas Golden Knights:
Overall: 6 seasons
Playoff appearances: 5 out of 6 (83% of the time)
Cup appearances: 2* (33% of the time)
The Golden Knights are in a league of their own. But how did we get here?
The 2016 NHL Expansion Draft is where the Golden Knights would select one unprotected player from each of the already established NHL franchises in the league. Teams were allowed to protect up to 11 players that couldn’t be taken; the rest were up for grabs. This is where the Golden Knights struck gold. They worked the phones with the other teams’ GMs and actually negotiated deals for the teams to send them draft picks/players in exchange for the Golden Knights taking certain unprotected players the teams didn’t want or salary dumps, or so they thought at the time. One of the best deals they struck was ironically from the team that could possibly be waiting for them in the Stanley Cup final. The Florida Panthers traded Reilly Smith in exchange for Vegas selecting Jonathan Marchessault and a fourth-round pick in the 2018 Draft. Hindsight is 20/20, but it could speak volumes about some of the Blue Jackets’ struggles in the league, as they sent a first-round 2017 pick, 2019 second-round pick, and a player for them to select William Karlsson, who went on to put up 43 goals in his first season with the Knights and is now second all-time in points for the Golden Knights, sandwiched in between Riley Smith and Marchessault, who they also acquired basically for free. In the end, the Golden Knights came out of that draft blazing, getting their 30 players from each different team but also picking up multiple draft picks and players that were not wanted by the team or simply wanted a fresh start, like Marc-Andre Fleury.
As of now, this seems like a great feel-good story of a young and upcoming team working the phones, putting in hard work, and constructing a great team to compete. That is true, but they have made some questionable decisions that go beyond their very annoying Twitter account. Evgenii Dadonov was a member of the Golden Knights, and to free up some cap space after acquiring their new star Jack Eichel, they tried to trade Dadonov to the Anaheim Ducks. The deal would have been fine if that team wasn’t on his no-trade clause. The deal was reversed because of that factor, and Evgenii Dadonov spent the rest of the year awkwardly with the squad who tried to dump him to free up cap space. Fleury was also traded, and not notified of it until he and his agent found out through Twitter, to the Chicago Blackhawks. There’s also more to this agent/goalie/Knights beef; multiple suspicious instances of the team possibly circumventing the LTIR in order to get through the regular season, and then those players start to feel better once the playoffs start.
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The Golden Knights are a monster, and I don’t see the success stopping anytime soon. They have some very smart people in their front office, but hopefully, it takes them a few more years to get that Stanley Cup they’ve been looking for since day one. If you are looking to bet on the Stanley Cup, then Bovada is the best place to be. If you haven’t already, sign up today and claim your crypto sports welcome bonus to make the most out of your first deposit. Then, head on over to our NHL odds page to place your bets!