The Vegas Golden Knights are doing something that no team has done since 1968. The Golden Knights are winners of two playoff series in their first year as a National Hockey League franchise.
The team’s success signifies the third time in NHL history that a team won two playoff rounds in its first year in the league. The 1918 Toronto Arenas and 1968 St. Louis Blues previously accomplished the feat.
The Arenas, however, were playing in the first ever NHL postseason. Also, the Blues played in the NHL West Division in 1968, which consisted entirely of expansion teams.
Expansion teams are teams added into an existing league. The new franchise selects from a group of players offered by other organizations to form its roster.
The Golden Knights took their group of players viewed as “expendable” and took the league by storm. Vegas is heading to the Western Conference Finals, just four wins away from playing for the Stanley Cup.
The Golden Knights are the first franchise to join the NHL since 2000. Also, Vegas is the first expansion team in the North American Big 4 sports leagues (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) since the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA in 2004.
Golden Knights Having Historically Succesful First Season
The team made the playoffs by winning the Pacific Division with 109 season points. Vegas then beat the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks in the first two rounds of the NHL playoffs.
Either the Winnipeg Jets or Nashville Predators will join the Knights in the conference final. The Jets currently lead their series three games to two. However, with Game 6 on Monday night, the series could be over soon.
The Golden Knights are attempting to become the first NHL expansion team to win the Stanley Cup in its first season in the league.
The record for the fastest championship after expansion belongs to the Philadelphia Flyers. However, it took the Flyers seven seasons to win the title.
If the Knights win the championship, it would be an unprecedented success for North American sports, not just the NHL. While the Cleveland Browns won the NFL championship in their first NFL year, they were a pre-existing franchise. No real expansion team in the NFL has been successful so fast.
Also, the fastest expansion to win the championship in the NBA was three years by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Arizona Diamondbacks won the MLB World Series in their fourth year as well.