The Vegas Golden Knights have already exceeded the highest expectations for fans of an expansion NHL team. Not only did they advance to the NHL playoffs, they swept the LA Kings in the first round. When it comes to expansion teams, the Las Vegas Knights have already secured a seat at the discussion table for the best freshman teams of all time. Today, we take a look at the great expansion teams of all time in the history of professional sports.
Vegas Knights compared to expanding teams from other sports
Vegas tops NHL expansion teams in terms of success early on. The Florida Panthers were a competitive team, but they were never really a threat to compete in the Stanly Cup Championship. So to argue that the Vegas Knights are the best expansion team ever, we must compare them to the best first-year franchise teams in other sports.
Vegas Golden Knights versus MLB’s best freshmen teams
The Los Angeles Angels were the only team to finish the season with more than 70 wins. The Golden Knights had a difference of +.7 points during the regular season. Los Angeles de Los Angeles were a -.3. When you consider that baseball has more total runs per game, this statistic is even higher. So by far, they’ve easily beaten the Los Angeles Angels in terms of the NHL’s best freshman team versus the NFL.
Let’s now look at a quick rundown of the other professional sports:
In the NBA, the 1967 Chicago Bulls are ranked at the top of the list of the most successful NBA expansion teams. No one has been able to beat their 33-win season as a freshman team. They were still well below a team of 500 and never in serious discussion for being a championship caliber team.
What was the Vegas Golden Knights record during the regular season? They went 51-24 with 7 OTLs (overtime losses). Only the Tampa Bay Lightning (54), Nashville Predators (53) and Winnipeg Jets (52) had more wins during the regular season. Vegas was in uncharted waters and setting all-time records for expansion teams throughout the season.
In the NFL, no team has won more than 7 games during its inaugural season. The Carolina Panthers were 7-9 in 1995. So once again, there is no team in football that can even match the performance of the Las Vegas Knights.
Vegas Golden Knights is the largest expansion team in the history of the sport, hands down
In conclusion, the Vegas Golden Knights took home the “Best Expansion Team in Sports History” award. The Golden Knights had a 200-1 long shot to win the Stanley Cup (Las Vegas odds) at the start of the season. Now, they have 4-1 odds to take the cup home.
If the Vegas Golden Knights never win another game for the remainder of the playoffs, they can still claim to be the largest expansion team in the history of the sport.
It is very ironic that a sports team from “Las Vegas” is able to challenge so many odds to perform so well. If you want to build a fan base, all an expansion team has to do is perform well and provide hope for the future. In Las Vegas, the future is NOW! Whatever happens from here on is just the icing on the cake. The Vegas Golden Knights are here to stay and their growing fan base couldn’t be more excited!