Last years’ record: Didn’t lose a single game
Key additions: A lot of guys
Key losses: Nobody
Outlook: Hockey is coming to Las Vegas! If you haven’t heard the NHL has expanded, crawl out from under your rock and give The Hockey Prophet a follow on most social medias. 2017-2018 will be the Golden Knights inaugural season. Most times expansion teams don’t fair too well in their first few seasons, but could Vegas be an exception to the norm? Don’t bet on it…see what I did there?
While Marc Andre Fleury and Calvin Pickard give Vegas a solid one-two combination in net, Vegas is likely to have trouble elsewhere. It is rare that an expansion team starts with such a solid situation in-goal, but what the Golden Knights have in-goal, they lack at the forward position.
Vegas General Manager George McPhee selected a veteran starting goalie along with a plethora of defensemen in the expansion draft. Some of those defensemen have already been traded, while others will have to see if they’re staying with the big club, being put on waivers, or traded. The Golden Knights still have eleven defensemen on the team, so George McPhee will have to move at least three of them. Who that will be is still undecided, at least to the public’s knowledge.
All those defensemen, but no forwards. Vegas is going to have some trouble scoring this season with not a whole lot of firepower up front. They could move a defenseman or two for some forward help, but I wouldn’t bet on it. I did it again. The Golden Knights will hope that Russian transplant Vadim Shipachyov brought his elite scoring ability with him from the KHL. They’ll also have to rely on a lot of younger guys to help the light the lamp.
The Vegas Golden Knights aren’t the worst expansion team in NHL history, but they’re not making the playoffs this year. They are strong at the goalie position and relatively strong on defense. They lack way too much up front at this time to compete for a playoff spot. If you’re a betting man, I’d put all your chips on Vegas sitting towards the bottom of the NHL. At least Rasmus Dahlin is a nice consolation prize for the Golden Knights.