No expansion franchise has had an inaugural season like the Vegas Golden Knights. Traditionally, being a first-year team means heavy losses and lots of them. After four or five seasons you might find success, but not right away. According to NHL.com it takes an average of 11.9 years to reach the Stanley Cup Final. These things take time.
Well, the Golden Knights said "bah" to that. They won their first division race, put together a first round sweep of the Kings, got through the Sharks, and then beat the highly-touted Jets four games to one in the Conference Final. Win three more and they will be champions. The new guys have made quite the first impression.
In truth, there has been one other NHL team to make it within four games of the Stanley Cup in their first year: the St. Louis Blues. They had a bit of a leg up, however – the six "Class of '67" franchises were initially grouped into the same conference, so they only had to beat their equally mediocre classmates to reach the Final. The Blues actually made it to the promised land in each of their first three years, but were swept all three times.
Vegas had to take on the established Western Conference and did well, finishing third overall. They've won all of the playoff series they've appeared in thus far. They won a Final game, becoming the first expansion franchise to do so in their debut season. It's been, to put it simply, a cinderella year. Let's see if they can finish it off in style.
We've got two awesome, custom Class of '67 tees here at The SPORT Gallery. Made by Red Jacket clothing, they're perfect for a lover of hockey history, or of quirky logos. Grab one in store or online!