The Nugget

The Las Vegas Golden Knights

The Reasons Why They Are Already Great

Marcus Roberts, Head Writer

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When trying to measure the success of the Las Vegas Golden Knights hockey team in their very first year of existence to an expansion team of the past, one must compare them to some of the most successful expansion teams in modern sports’ history. This team has not only surpassed numerous records for an NHL expansion team but have also reminded pro franchises that a championship-contending team can be built from scratch. 

A combination of expansion draft rules, genius draft picks from the Vegas front office, and pure circumstance some of the other teams were under, the Golden Knights had a very good draft. They picked up some superb players in the league. Three-time Stanley Cup champion and three-time All Star, Marc-Andre Fleury was one of the most obvious picks as the Pittsburg Penguins were forced to either get rid of him or their promising young netminder Matt Murray. Also, big name forwards Jonathan Marchessault and James Neal were accompanied by big name defensemen, such as Deryk Engelland, Brayden McNabb, and Nate Schmidt. Even after that day, nobody would expect the kind of season they are having right now. 

On the very first day of February in 2018, the Golden Knights did something unbelievable: they won their 34th game of the season. This might not be very shocking at first, considering each team plays 82 regular season games. However, that number of wins is more than any other first-year NHL team in the 100+ year history of the league. By that point in the season, Vegas still had 32 games to play in the regular season. Fast-foreword to the end of the campaign, and the Golden Knights have 51 wins, a goal differential of +44, and head into the playoffs as a #1 seed. 

After their unbelievable season by any pro team standard, the Golden Knights have started the playoffs looking just as unstoppable as ever. They have become the first expansion NHL team to ever sweep a series in the playoffs when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings 1-0 on Tuesday. 

Now, the red-hot Knights will take on the San Jose Sharks, a team that also swept their opponent in the first round of this year’s playoffs. 

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