This post is part of Golden Knights Day on PHT…
In professional sports, expansion teams usually don’t do so well in their first couple of years, and it’s pretty easy to see why.
Expansion teams have to pick up leftover players that other teams decide are expendable for a variety of reasons. Also, developing chemistry with 20-plus guys doesn’t happen over night, especially when other teams have been together for multiple years.
With all that being said, it’s easy to see why most of the hockey world expects the Golden Knights to struggle out of the gate.
General manager George McPhee did a relatively good job putting the roster together. He also managed to acquire two additional first round draft picks via trade.
There’s some interesting names on the roster. Jonathan Marchessault, James Neal, David Perron, Vadim Shipachyov and Reilly Smith will be counted on to score goals, while Nate Schmidt, Jason Garrison, Brayden McNabb and Shea Theodore will serve as important options on the blue line.
Between the pipes, the Golden Knights were able to get their hands on Marc-Andre Fleury from Pittsburgh. Fleury, who has three Stanley Cups on his resume, has already become the face of the franchise. Former Avalanche goalie Calvin Pickard will serve as his backup.
The last time NHL had expansion teams was back in 2000-01, when the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild came into the league. Believe it or not, neither team finished in the basement of the NHL standings. The Jackets finished 23rd of 30 in their first year, while the Wild finished in 25th position. By no means were those teams good, but they weren’t the worst teams in the league (the Lightning and Islanders were the two worst teams that year).
So, how many teams will be worse than Vegas this year?
The first team that jumps off the page in that regard has to be the Colorado Avalanche. The Avs were just awful last year, and they didn’t do a whole lot to get better. If someone finishes behind the Golden Knights, it may very well be them.
The Vancouver Canucks, Arizona Coyotes and New Jersey Devils also have to be considered when talking about who can finish below the expansion side this year.
Alright, it’s your turn to have your say. Feel free to vote in the poll below and leave your opinion in the comments section, too.