How can the Vegas Golden Knights get back to the Stanley Cup Finals?
Could this be the year for the Vegas Golden Knights to get back and bring home the Stanley Cup? Ever since they became the 31st team of the NHL, no expansion team (in any sport for that matter) has seen success like the Golden Knights. A cup final appearance in 2018, followed by 2 more playoff appearances, and 2 division titles, seems all too good to be true for a team that is now entering its 4th ever season. But it won’t be that easy for the Vegas Golden Knights to enter a new and unique season.
With the modified season comes a new challenge for the Vegas Golden Knights. Divisions across the NHL landscape have been modified to help reduce travel for teams. With that realignment, the Golden Knights will have a very similar division, minus the Canadian squads. But they will now have to deal with the Colorado Avalanche and the St. Louis Blues (cup winners only two seasons ago). The Avalanche have some of the best young talents in the game who only seem to be getting stronger as the season progresses. This will be an added challenge for the Golden Knights. A challenge, some may say, is necessary to be placed among the elites of the league.
The Golden Knights are always up to the challenge. Facing criticism and adversity every year, the Golden Knights are always placed in the spotlight to perform. The biggest constant that will help put them at the top is the lineup. In goal, you have, arguably, the best goalie duo in the league between Robin Lehner and Marc-Andre Fleury. Both are proven winners and it leaves head coach Pete DeBoer with the easiest job in the league, who will stand between the pipes on a given night. A simple coin flip would work best, in this writer’s opinion. Leading the helm for the Golden Knights will be their first-ever captain Mark Stone.
The Golden Knights have also added Alex Pietrangelo to help strengthen the defensive core. Losing Nate Schmidt to the Vancouver Canucks and Deryk Engelland was of no help to the Golden Knights, so the Pietrangelo addition was much needed. Last season, Pietrangelo ranked 4th among all NHL defensemen in scoring chances off the rush and 3rd in high danger scoring chances. Overall, scoring placed him at fifth among active defensemen in the NHL. This style of play ties in perfectly with the Golden Knights, moving the puck quickly out of the defensive zone and transitioning to the offensive zone.
With the season getting underway, this is just the tip of the iceberg for the story of the Vegas Golden Knights. General manager Kelly McCrimmon went out this offseason and had to make some tough decisions, but untimely put the Vegas Golden Knights in another great position to make a run at the cup. The shortened season will of course make things interesting, but the Golden Knights are ready to put their best skate forward and continue to show why they are the elite in the NHL.
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