The Vegas Golden Knights are the National Hockey League’s most interesting story of this season, but is it too farfetched to think the NHL helped them in some unknown way? It is probably out of the realm of possibilities but let’s look at the facts: Vegas paid a $500,000,000 fee just to get the team, the NHL seems to want the desert teams to have more success than others, and the expansion draft was weighed more in the favor of the drafting team than ever before.
People pointing to the fee as a reason they are winning are probably wrong, though that could be a reason for the weighted expansion drafted. A team that pays half a billion dollars should get a better team out of the gate, but the NHL may need to change the rules ahead of the next expansion draft. There really isn’t an excuse for how well the Golden Knights are doing, unless you’re really into conspiracies.
The real fact is other general manager’s overreacted to the thought of losing their sixth best forward or 4th best defenseman. Dale Tallon was one of the main GM’s to lose a lot for his Florida Panthers. Tallon traded away Reilly Smith, who ended up being the fourth leading scorer for the Knights, only for the Knights to take Marchessault, who is their second leading scorer for the knights.
These knee-jerk decisions from most GM’s are what made the expansion Vegas Golden Knights so good, and only two wins away from the Stanley Cup Finals.