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The Vegas Golden Knights will attempt to do something no other expansion franchise in American professional sports has ever done or dreamed of doing: win a world championship. Below we discuss why this rags-to-riches story may indeed have a Cinderella ending in the Stanley Cup Finals vs. Washington. Game 1 is Monday in Sin City.
Building a Champion
If Vegas Golden Knights GM George McPhee isn’t named NHL General Manager of the Year, then any conspiracy theory ever concocted will suddenly have merit. The award will be announced on June 20, but it’s a foregone conclusion that McPhee will trounce Winnipeg’s Kevin Cheveldayoff and Tampa Bay’s Steve Yzerman, the other two finalists.
McPhee took advantage of all the goodies the NHL overlords offered, ranging from more players exposed than in any other expansion draft to limiting teams to protecting only one goalie. McPhee plucked a 32-year-old netminder with three Stanley Cup rings under his belt in Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins and made some savvy deals for what their trading partners considered castoffs.
Nashville’s James Neal and St. Louis’ David Perron were among those, and McPhee even took on a $5.25 million cap hit over the next three seasons in trading for retired Blue Jacket David Clarkson in order to garner a first- and second-round Columbus draft pick. As part of that deal, Vegas agreed to select the Blue Jackets’ William Karlsson, who had only six goals and 25 points last season, which proved to be emblematic of the spectacular serendipity that would follow. The 25-year-old Karlsson ended as the Knights’ leading scorer with 43 goals and 78 points, while former Florida Panther Jonathan Marchessault, another spare part that Florida was eager to unload, wound up as the Knights’ second-leading point getter with 75 on the season.
The Golden Knights are a team of destiny while their opponent, the Washington Capitals, is a franchise wrought with disappointment. Vegas has a roster chock full of players having career seasons and there is a palpable mojo that has elevated everyone’s game wearing a Knights uniform. Even their backup netminder Malcolm Subban, a former first-round pick of the Boston Bruins, has been solid in relief of Fleury when called upon during the regular season. There’s no denying Vegas and if Sin City has its way, the house will win again.
Knights of Gold Cost Vegas Green
Imagine all of those Las Vegas tourists leisurely drifting in and out of the Las Vegas sportsbooks last summer and plunking a few bucks down on a pipe dream that the newest NHL franchise would win the 2018 Stanley Cup. Well, it turns out those novelty wagers may be quite costly especially when one considers that the Knights were tagged as 500-1 and greater before the season began. Those tickets could very well be returning to the betting windows, as opposed to sitting in a quaint little scrapbook, for a huge payoff as it is being reported that Las Vegas sportsbooks stand to lose as much as $5 million if the Golden Knights can topple the Washington Capitals in the Stanley Cup Finals.
Speaking of odds, your first click should always be to Sportsbook Review where you can see what the best online sportsbooks are hanging on all the major domestic and international sports. In this case, we see that the Vegas Golden Knights are slight favorites at -135 over the Washington Capitals getting a return of +115. The bottom line is that the Knights are worth a wager even if it means you have to pay a little more to get your return on investment. Although the NHL-best Nashville Predators were bounced as the Western Conference entry, the Knights are the next best thing. Vegas wins the Cup in six.