Vegas Golden Knights Inaugural Season- Fly High or Flop?

The Golden Knights- big first season or nothing but a sham?

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With the emergence of the Vegas Golden Knights’ new roster, one has to wonder. Will this team impress in it’s inaugural season? Or is there an utter disappointment on it’s way? First to give a few statistics, a quick look at their Expansion Draft roster, and then a prediction.

In order to have an arguable guess as to how this shiny new team will do in its’ first season, one should refer to a list of modern expansion teams’ inaugural records. *Note that the list is ordered least successful to most successful.

Team GP W L T OL PTS PTS% GF GA Goal Dif
1992-93 Ottawa Senators 84 10 70 4 0 24 0.143 202 395 -193
1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers 82 14 57 7 4 39 0.232 170 313 -143
1991-92 San Jose Sharks 80 17 58 5 0 39 0.244 219 359 -140
1992-93 Tampa Bay Lightning 84 23 54 7 0 53 0.315 245 332 -87
1998-99 Nashville Predators 82 28 47 7 0 63 0.384 190 261 -71
2000-01 Columbus Blue Jackets 82 28 39 9 6 71 0.410 190 233 -43
2000-01 Minnesota Wild 82 25 39 13 5 68 0.393 168 210 -42
1993-94 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim 84 33 46 5 0 71 0.423 229 251 -22
1993-94 Florida Panthers 84 33 34 17 0 83 0.494 233 233 0

Let’s look at the Florida Panthers’ 1993-94 inaugural season. Realistically, this is an incredible season for a first-year team, especially compared to Ottawa’s first year (2nd worst record in NHL history). With a goal differential of 0, and a regulation win percentage just below .500, this record is going to be tough to beat for Vegas. Can they do it? Heck yes. But how, you ask? One word:

Flower.

The 32 year old, 3-time Stanley Cup champion, 14 season veteran goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury, or as many know him, “Flower”. How can one go wrong? Over his career, Fleury has posted a regular season save percentage of .912, and a playoff save percentage of .909 not to mention over 400 combined regular season and playoff wins. Fleury alone will win this team around 25 games, purely by being the outstanding goalie that we know him to be. That being said, the combination of youth and experience that Vegas selected in the expansion draft and the players that they will select in the entry draft will get them 15 wins. Players like James Neal, Marc Methot, Deryk Engelland, and Luca Sbisa bring grit and invaluable experience to a new team. All of this considered, Vegas will manage to squeak 25 wins. That’s 40 wins- a better record than 11 current teams posted in the 2016-17 season. Put short? We’ve got a record breaking inaugural season coming our way.

So that’s the prediction. 40 wins, 42 losses (OT included). Not too shabby.

Here’s a list of the Golden Knights’ expansion selections, in case you wanted to look it over.

Calvin Pickard G
Luca Sbisa D
Teemu Pulkkinen F
Jon Merrill D
William Carrier F
Cody Eakin F
Tomas Nosek F
Jonathan Marchessault F
Brayden McNabb D
Connor Brickley F
Chris Thorburn F
Pierre-Edouard Bellemare F
Jason Garrison D
J-F Berube G
James Neal F
Deryk Engelland D
Brandon Leipsic F
Colin Miller D
Marc Methot D
David Schlemko D
David Perron F
Oscar Lindberg F
Griffin Reinhart D
Alexei Emelin D
Clayton Stoner D
Erik Haula F
William Karlsson F
Trevor van Riemsdyk D
Marc-Andre Fleury G
Nate Schmidt D

 

Author: Kamdyn Eisele

NHL writer

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