It’s alive! It’s alive! But the Vegas Golden Knights’ betting websites’ odds are dead on arrival. In spite of which, when general manager George McPhee took to the stage following the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday at T-Mobile Arena and enumerated his greatest hockey experiences, he saw fit to add, “the Stanley Cup is going to be up there.” And as everybody knows, using ‘going’ to refer to future events implies a strong association with the present. The specific time is not important but the intention is that the event depends on something in the current situation that we know about. ‘Going’ is mostly used to refer to plans and intentions or to make predictions based on present evidence.
Or maybe he was just padding out an admittedly short list (one wonders whether he included punching Lorne Molleken). All things considered it appears as if McPhee, like the Reverend T. Lawrence Shannon, lives on the fantastic level but has to operate on the realistic level. And on that latter level he added that “there were two objectives. The first was to put an entertaining and competitive team on the ice. … The second objective was to acquire prospects and surplus draft picks that can help us draft our way to success.” As a matter of fact, the Knights acquired 10 draft picks; three in the first round of the 2017 NHL Draft, and the remaining seven over the next four years.
Las Vegas is all about gambling and sportsbooks and, in a single word, money. As such, the Golden Knights did not shy away from big contracts, such as Marc-André Fleury’s $23,000,000 four-year contract, or James Neal’s $30,000,000 six-year deal. According to CapFriendly.com, the Knights left the expansion draft with a $74.1 million payroll. And speaking of Fleury, the three-time Stanley Cup winner is likely going to be the Knights’ fearless leader. Fun fact: The Pens traded their second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Vegas selecting Fleury. As if there was any doubt they were going to do so any way. McPhee and his staff used a color code system to categorize players. “Blue in this case was probably a player that we’re claiming and keeping and don’t have interest in moving.” Let’s just say Fleury could’ve joined the Blue Man Group. “[Pittsburgh] gave us a pick to make sure it happened, and it was going to happen anyway,” McPhee let on.
“This team should be competitive next year,” league commish Gary Bettman said. “Are they going to win the Stanley Cup in the first year? I’m not so sure anybody should be predicting that.” Don’t worry Gar-Gar; betting websites sure ain’t giving the Golden Knights a snowball’s chance in hell. By way of comparison, the Pittsburgh Penguins have +710 odds of winning the 2017-2018 Stanley Cup, while the Knights’ odds are +15000 odds. Mileage may vary depending on who you ask, but most if not all sources will give you about the same odds.