The Truth About The Vegas Golden Knights
For the past couple weeks all that’s been around on Twitter & Facebook are hockey fans bitching about how the NHL gifted the Vegas Golden Knights a Stanley Cup Finals berth.
While I agree that all fan bases should experience the heartbreak of losing (see 2004 for a Flames fan… IT WAS IN DAMNIT), it’s not the Knights or their fans’ fault that the team has been outstanding this year. Many people wrote off the Knights after seeing their roster on paper. Luckily for Vegas fans, the game isn’t played on paper. The boys (#FERDA) rallied together through having been left exposed by their former teams, and a heartbreaking tragedy, to show the hockey world that they could be an elite team. Enough chatter…. Why are the Las Vegas Golden Knights really in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Here’s the truth:
The Golden Knights were given a 2nd round pick to take Marc-Andre Fluery from the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Regular Season – 3rd in the NHL in GAA , 7th in the NHL in SV%,
46GP 29-13-4 2.24 GAA .927% 4 SO
15GP 12-3 1.68 GAA .947% 4 SO
We get it they had a young goalie who was a driving force in two straight Stanley Cup runs. Still, the Pens gave away one of the best goalies in the game and even gave a 2nd round pick to Vegas for the pleasure of doing so.
The Knights were given a 1st and a 2nd round pick to take William Karlsson and David Clarkson’s contract
Lots of luck is involved in being a championship calibre team. This is exactly what luck looks like. Karlsson was a good young player but I don’t think any one really thought this would turn out this well for Vegas. For crying out loud the kid had 45 pts in 162 games in Columbus. You always hear people saying “he just needs a change of scenery”, which I generally thought was just something people said when players struggled. Turns out a change of scenery can do wonders for players.
The Knights were given Jonathan Marchessault to take Reilly Smith
It’s odd that the Panthers left Marchessault unprotected. He scored 30 goals the year before but there was some scuttlebutt about being a defensive liability and that he had one “good” year. On the other hand, Reilly Smith I can understand sending away. He had a down year, was making 5 million bones, and generally didn’t have a place in the Panthers organization. Even on a down year on a 5 mil contract he has scored 50+ points twice in the previous 4 years (make that now 3 in the last 5 years). In essence the Panthers gave up two 60pt guys, which would have been good enough to be the 2nd and 5th leading scorers on the team. I understand salary cap issues… or future cap issues. I mean Marchessault scored 30 goals making 750k a year. This move was one of the biggest head scratchers for me.
They were given Shea Theodore to take Clayton Stoner
I just want to go on the record here and say I’m not the biggest fan of the Anaheim Dicks…. ooops I mean Ducks. The Mighty Duck movies were good when I was a kid but I despise these guys with a passion. I know why I hate them, it’s no secret. It’s the same reason people don’t like the Bruins because of Marchand (licky licky) or why teams are disliking my Flames because of Tkachuck. People hate teams with super effective pests. Any team that employs Perry, Kesler, and Bieksa is just gross (this is my article and my opinion. Sorry if this offends you… not really).
Losing Theodore, in hindsight, must really sting for the ducks. The kid is pretty darned good. I mean the Ducks would be infinitely better with Theodore playing instead of Bieksa. In the end this was an embarrassment of riches for the Ducks. They had a number of great young D guys. I mean who do you not protect when you have Lindholm, Fowler, Vatanen, Manson, and Theodore.
They were given Alex Tuch to take Erik Haula
This was a tough one for the Wild. They had an embarrassment of riches if you will, and had to protect a load of good players while still exposing players such as Eric Staal and Matt Dumba. In order for the Wild to ensure the Knights would take a “lesser” player such as Erik Haula, they had to give up a prospect as well. How does Alex Tuch sound?
Well, pretty good if you’re the Vegas Golden Knights, as they are both pretty important anchors on the second line, and their speed has been a killer for teams in these playoffs. As with many teams on this list, instead of one good player, George McPhee was able to snag two!
So when there’s salty fans of teams like my Flames, the shitty Edmonton Oilers, or any of the other teams not in the finals… just remember The NHL didn’t gift the Knights anything … Your team’s GMs did. The Western Conference Champion Las Vegas Golden Knights thank you!