Can The Vegas Golden Knights Make The Playoffs Again?
There are a ton of things going on this NHL offseason, leading with former Calgary Flames Captain, Jarome Iginla retiring after an illustrious 20-season career. But we are not here to talk about Iginla; we’re here to talk about the upcoming season.
I remember stating to friends and fellow hockey fans a couple of months before last season that the Vegas Golden Knights only had to show up and play to be successful during their inaugural season. I wasn’t speaking of actual success on the ice, but that the expectations were so low and fans were so excited to have a team in Vegas that it really wouldn’t matter if they lost every single game. Just show up and play, and those seats will be filled for a couple of seasons.
Let me put this “low expectation” into perspective. The Knights opened at Pinnacle Sports as 150 to 1 underdogs to win the Stanley Cup. They were dead last on the oddsboards and the only team in the NHL below 75 to 1.
Jaws were dropped, and eyes were wide open. This ad-hoc group of players came out and beat the Dallas Stars in Dallas in their NHL debut. It only became more eye-popping as they swept the Arizona Coyotes, lost to the Detroit Red Wings and then put a five-game winning streak together against the Boston Bruins, the Buffalo Sabres, the St. Louis Blues, the Chicago Blackhawks, and the Colorado Avalanche.
They went on to an unheard of rookie expansion team making it to the finals and set records for Vegas area TV markets and expansion team wins and points. The only other expansion to make it to the finals in their respective sport since 1950 was also in the NHL. It was the St. Louis Blues, but they were a part of a six-team expansion that were all placed in the same division, so it isn’t even comparable.
The question for 2018 is will the magic remain, or was it beginners luck?
Who Do The Sportsbooks in Vegas Think Will Win it All This Season?
Well, the bookies in Vegas are not betting with their hearts. The bookmakers have the Tampa Bay Lighting as the most probable team to win the cup in 2019 at +800 or 8 to 1. Sharing the love are the Toronto Maple Leafs who are averaging around 8 to 1 as well, but can be found as low as 7 to 1 at a couple of shops.
Initially, the Lightning, Washington Capitals, and Golden Knights were all sitting at the top of the boards at 8 to 1. But since then, the Knights have fallen to 11 to 1; the Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Winnipeg Jets are around the same implied probability. It’s the Bruins, Nashville Predators, and Maple Leafs who have moved up in the world.
The Vegas Golden Knights have a slightly easier schedule when it comes to playing tired teams while rested than the Maple Leafs and Lightning, but the Caps have it slightly easier than the Knights and the Predators have it easier still.
- Tampa Bay Lightning
- Nashville Predators
- Winnipeg Jets
- Washington Capitals
- Las Vegas Golden Knights
- Boston Bruins
- Pittsburgh Penguins
- San Jose Sharks
- Columbus Blue Jackets
- Toronto Maple Leafs
It’s interesting to see so much money following Toronto in Vegas and at online sportsbooks. Especially since they barely make the top-ten in early predictive rankings. This is going to be an interesting season. And I can’t wait to see if the Golden Knights can prove that they are not a fluke by making it into the playoffs again and are truly a top-five team.
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