Not many teams have ever won a championship in professional sports in the first six years of the franchise, especially in the modern era. The Las Vegas Golden Knights managed to do that. Here’s how they made it happen:
Boosted Expansion Draft
In 2017 the Knights were a new team introduced to the NHL meaning they had to select a team from other players across the league that were not protected in the expansion draft. For this expansion draft other teams could protect either seven forwards, three defencemen, and one goaltender or, one goaltender and eight skaters regardless of position.
In the two previous expansion drafts for the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets, they could protect nine forwards, five defencemen, and one goalie, or two goalies, three defencemen, and seven forwards.
That meant that some teams lost one of their top-four defencemen or their third-line forward to Vegas.
Playoff Team in Year 1
With the expansion draft giving Vegas players like Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, and Marc-Andre Fleury, Vegas was able to make the playoffs and build off of that success to shape their roster into a true contender.
They went on to make the playoffs every year after that until last season.
Big 2022-2023 Moves
Picking up Jack Eichel was massive move forward for Vegas as well as getting Reilly Smith healthy. Adin Hill was another huge pickup for them at goalie.
Starting out with a solid core on their roster and adding pieces over time allowed Vegas to ascend quickly to the top of the NHL and win the Stanley Cup Final after just six seasons in the league.
Photo Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Golden_Knights_vs.Capitals(50120941003).jpg