Coming into the year the Vegas Golden Knights were already written off as a basement team, in comparison to how Chicago is performing right now. I’m sure many reporters, NHL fans, and on-air specialists said that Vegas would be a competitive team but nowhere close to a playoff team. At the beginning of the year, when the roster came out, probably 90 percent of people said, “James Neal is not going to be as lethal in Vegas, due to lack of linemates”, the team was going to lack goal scoring, and they were going to building for the future all year.
A HISTORIC season…
Well people, we are now at the end of the season essentially and the Golden Knights are 47-21-7 with 101 points, at this point in the season, 75 games they are the fifth team to record 100 points. They have been ranked in the power rankings whether it be 1 or 10 for the entire season. They have 8 players having career years and Marc Andre Fleury playing like a Vezina goalie. It may be fair to say a lot if not all of us were wrong about the Golden Knights.
The Vegas Golden Knights have nearly shattered every single record set by an inaugural NHL team, and they continue to break them as they head into the playoffs. With players like William Karlsson(39-27-66), Jonathan Marchessault(24-45-69), David Perron(16-50-66), Riley Smith(22-38-60) and Erik Haula(28-24-52) the Vegas Golden Knights top performers have certainly taken the role of underappreciated on their former clubs to superstars on this team now.
What can be the reason for Vegas’s success, just last week George McPhee said he never expected this from the team. For the general manager to come out and say that about his club it means something special is going on here. The Vegas Golden Knights may attribute much of their success to Marc Andre Fleury and the 39 goals scored by William Karlsson thus far. But think back to when Fleury was out and the Golden Knights were running with Malcolm Subban, Dylan Ferguson, and emergency goalies who came in stood tall. This team came out as one of the hottest teams in the NHL and stayed hot for the first several months. Vegas has not only dealt with their fair share injuries on all facets of their line up.
Vegas grows the game of hockey…
Not much is known about why this Vegas team has been so successful but as we near the end of the season, some appreciation must be credited to this team. For shattering every expansion team record, raising the bar for incoming expansion teams, having an incredible Twitter, expanding the sport of hockey to Nevada but also putting hockey on the radar of many others. With the hype and media attention Vegas has drawn, I’m sure somebody who did not know much about hockey, now knows a little something about the game. The recent success of Vegas has not only been great for the state of Nevada but also for the growth of the NHL. Since Vegas has been so successful, the thought of Seattle now starting an NHL franchise is even more of a possibility, because they look at this team and say, hey if they were good their first year why can’t we? Vegas has been a story this year and a great one at that, but it has also been a huge aspect of growing the game of hockey to all over the United States.
To really get an in=depth look at how great this Vegas season has been, take a look at this article: https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/vegas-has-the-best-expansion-team-in-the-history-of-pro-sports-and-its-not-close/