The End of the Expansion Era in Vegas


Expectations have now changed for the Vegas Golden Knights as they’ve reached the end of their expansion era.

In four seasons of being a team, the Golden Knights have been to four straight playoffs, with two trips to the conference finals. But, the real cherry on top the franchise’s history is Vegas’ run to the Stanley Cup Final in their freshman season.

Now, with the Seattle Kraken joining the National Hockey League this summer, Vegas is no longer the new, cool team on the block. Instead, they are just another team with a large, empty space in their trophy case.

For four seasons, the Golden Knights were exceeding all expectations by being this successful this early as a franchise. It was hard to be negative about a team that didn’t exist a few years ago, was the NHL’s newest club and was only a couple of wins away from the Stanley Cup.

Vegas no longer has that shield.

The End of the Expansion Era in Vegas

The Golden Knights now join the NHL’s 10-team ‘club’ that have yet to win a Stanley Cup. There are a certain level of expectations that come with that empty trophy case. This includes having to reflect heavily on the roster every season, more so than other franchises do.

Vegas has shown no concern in making franchise or fan base altering moves in an effort to shake up the team. Moving out fan favourites like Marc-André Fleury or Ryan Reaves to fit a younger, perceived better team has become second nature in Vegas. The team has been loyal to winning rather than to its players, which is something that could be commended.

Or, the constant revolving dressing room door may eventually catchup to Vegas and cost them success. Now that they are just another team, these decisions will be analyzed and crucified more than ever.

Vegas has consistently been in on any big name free agents and trade targets that have come available the last four seasons. Whether it be trading for stars like Mark Stone, Max Pacioretty and Robin Lehner or signing franchise defensemen Alex Pietrangelo. Vegas has been in on everyone and still has won nothing.

Their cap hit has been on a constant rise, which has forced their hand to move on from guys like Fleury. They have managed to significantly add and subtract to and from their roster every season and still have high levels of success. Vegas has been ruthless with their roster moves.

This is a very exciting team, let’s not get that wrong. They are easily a favourite to not only win the Pacific division this season but also the Stanley Cup. The Golden Knights have so far exceeded mountains of expectations and limitations put in front of them in their short tenure. But as Vegas embarks on this post expansion era, fans and criticizers will not be as lenient as they were with the NHL’s former newest club.

Now, they are just another team trying to dance with Lord Stanley’s cup; and there is a new team joining the fight.

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