When the Vegas Golden Knights became a franchise, no one expected them to be competitive right away. However, then-general manager George McPhee was able to squeeze assets from of other teams through the expansion draft, and the pieces he acquired helped build the franchise into what it is today.
He took players who were not wanted by their former teams, the “outcasts”, and created a winning team. They shattered every record for a first year professional sports organization and came within three wins of winning the Stanley Cup.
The Golden Knights have just played their 200th regular season game and are currently in a playoff position for the 2019-20 season. All time, they have 112 wins and have never missed the postseason. They are also one of the favorites out of the Western Conference to win it all.
Golden Knights by the Numbers
There have been 48 players to wear the black and gold. Eleven players were picked by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft but were moved before they donned the jersey, like Alexei Emelin and Marc Methot, who were moved in the days after the draft for extra draft picks and other assets.
During the expansion draft, McPhee traded for players who were under contract but unable to play because of injury. The Golden Knights received assets to take those players off another team’s books. Players like Mikhail Grabovski and David Clarkson were acquired along with draft picks so their former teams could free up cap space as the Golden Knights stockpiled assets.
Then there is Derick Brassard who was a member of the Golden Knights for a split second, but was then moved to the Pittsburgh Penguins in a three-way trade with the Ottawa Senators. As a paper transaction, McPhee acquired Brassard to take on 40% of his contract so the Penguins could fit him under their cap. In return, the Golden Knights acquired fan-favorite Ryan Reaves. So, you could say the money was well spent.
The Golden Knights have the most wins against the Anaheim Ducks and the Vancouver Canucks with eight wins each. They also have a perfect record in both of their barns as they are 4-0 at Honda Center (Ducks) and Rogers Arena (Canucks).
They are also undefeated at three other arenas around the league: United Center (4-0, Chicago Blackhawks), Canadian Tire Centre (2-0, Senators) and Amalie Arena (2-0, Tampa Bay Lightning).
William “Wild Bill” Karlsson currently leads the franchise in a number of all-time offensive categories: goals (77), points (162), plus/minus (plus-54), power-play goals (17), shorthanded goals (7), shorthanded points (15) and is the only player to have played in every single game.
Jonathan Marchessault is the current all-time leader in assists (96) and is not far behind in points with 158. He also loves to shoot the puck and leads the organization with 668 shots. Karlsson is next but is more than 200 shots behind him.
The team’s 200th game not only marked a milestone for the organization but also for Marchessault who scored his 100th career goal in the 100th regular season game played at T-Mobile Arena.
Viva Las Vegas
Two-hundred games is a major milestone for the franchise. With the tragic events that occurred at the Route 91 Harvest Festival days before the Golden Knights’ inaugural game, Las Vegas was at an all-time low. Instead of people looking forward to their first-ever major league sports team, residents were struck with tragedy.
Fortunately, hockey players are giving people. Instead of focusing on the season, players and staff members of the organization made visits to hospitals, blood drives and first responders to help in any way. As horrific as it was, this bonded the team with the city and created a special atmosphere around the organization.
As successful as their first 200 games have been, their future looks just as bright. The team has five picks in the first three rounds of the 2020 NHL Draft and four selections in the first two rounds of the 2021 Draft. The team has plenty of prospects in the pipeline and future picks to add to their pool and keep them competitive for years to come.
With the success the Golden Knights have experienced early in their franchise, the fans and organization have their sights set high and it is Stanley Cup or bust as the they look to become the fastest expansion team to hoist the Cup.