Vegas Golden Knights: A Team Of Outcasts

Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images
Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images /
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Vegas Golden Knights
Photo by Jeff Bottari/NHLI via Getty Images /

The Vegas Golden Knights have been this season’s hugest surprise

The Vegas Golden Knights are the latest of Commissioner Gary Bettman’s expansion teams. The city of Las Vegas was granted an expansion team bid in June of 2016 at the League Owners meeting held in Las Vegas.

Expansion teams are stocked with players via an expansion draft. Each current team is allowed to protect a certain number of players. In the 2017 draft, teams could protect eight skaters and one goaltender. First and second-year players, as well as any unsigned draft picks, were also exempted from Expansion Draft eligibility.

So, what did that really mean? It meant that Las Vegas was basically drafting the players that other teams didn’t want. Castoffs…fringe players that weren’t quite valuable to be one of the coveted spots on the protected list. As such, expansion teams have traditionally not been immediate threats.

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The Flyers, for instance, were one of the original expansion teams that entered the NHL in 1967. The team didn’t even hit hockey 500, with a record of 31 wins, 32 losses, and 11 ties. Broad Street did see playoff games in the first year, but lost to the St. Louis Blues in seven games.

Ed Snider’s pride and joy did become the first expansion team to win the Stanley Cup in 1974-75 and repeated the following season. The NHL was rocked that an expansion team had developed quickly enough to garner their top prize just in just seven short seasons.

The Flyers had not gotten the memo that expansion teams are supposed to be bad. It would also appear that the Vegas Golden Knights have missed that memo as well. They are most certainly going to make the playoffs, and are neck and neck with the Tampa Bay Lightning as Vegas odds favorites to win it all.

Who are these Knights, the unwanted, the cast-offs,  who are proving their old teams wrong? Let’s meet a few of them.