by Meaghan Cahill ’20
They started their season with virtually nothing–no stats, no previous wins or losses, and no idea how a team consisting of offered up players would play together.
None of that, however, stops the Las Vegas Golden Knights from defying any preconceived notions that their inaugural season would be just an experiment. For who could have predicted that the team would become the only team to ever win seven of their first eight games of the season.
After years of talk, the National Hockey League (NHL) officially declared that an expansion team would be formed in Las Vegas.
Over the summer, all of the teams in the NHL submitted a list of players to be offered up in the expansion draft that would take place. Thanks to certain rules that restricted the draft and regulated the amount of players that each already established team could protect, the Knights’ draft selections offered a glimpse of the success that they would achieve to the rest of the league.
Picking up big-name veterans such as Pittsburgh Penguins goalie Marc-Andre Fleury, Nashville Predators forward James Neal, and St. Louis Blues forward David Perron, the Knights were able to produce a roster filled with depth in each position, with solid players making up the offensive and defensive lines.
The individual success of the players on the team clearly have meshed well together, as they rest one point behind the Los Angeles Kings, who are in first place in the Pacific Division.
However, the team has not been without struggles, which makes their success all the more impressive. While Fleury appeared to have gotten his mojo back from some questionable appearances in games for the Penguins, he was just recently placed on the Knights’ injured reserve list due to a concussion.
The Knights fell back on Malcolm Subban, brother of NHL superstar PK Subban and formerly known as the back-up to the back-up goalie for the Boston Bruins who spent most of his time in Providence. Given up by the Bruins in the expansion draft, Subban dominated in his Vegas debut against his former team where he only let in one goal in the Knights’ 3-1 win.
Subban is also in fourth place out of the entire NHL in save percentage, with a .936 score, falling behind multiple cup-winning players Corey Crawford (.937, Chicago Blackhawks) and Jonathan Quick (.938, LA Kings).
The forwards are doing their part in the team’s success as well. Neal, a Stanley Cup Finals veteran, sits comfortably in the NHL’s Top 20 lead ing goal scorers, having as many as six goals, the same as Bruins’ players David Pastrnak and Brad Marchand.
Luck may be on their side, but after the horrible events that took place in Las Vegas earlier this month, the success of the Vegas Knights is exactly what the city of Las Vegas needs.
They are a team to look out for, and definitely a team that many are rooting for. Though injuries may lead to their downfall (Subban just suffered a career halting injury as well), they are certainly not a team that should be underestimated.