The Vegas Golden Knights have already exceeded the highest expectations for fans of an NHL expansion team. Not only did they advance to the NHL playoffs, they swept the LA Kings in the first round. As far as expansion teams go, the 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 all-time great expansion teams in professional sports history.
Comparison of the Vegas Knights with expansion teams from other sports
Vegas surprises expanding NHL 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 prove that the Vegas Knights are the best expansion team ever, we need to compare them to the best first-year franchise teams in other sports.
Vegas Golden Knights versus MLB’s best freshman teams
The Los Angeles Angels were the only team to finish the season with 70+ wins. The Golden Knights had a +.7 point differential during the regular season. The LA Angels were a -.3. When you consider that more total runs are scored per game in baseball, this statistic is even higher. Thus, they have easily beaten the LA Angels as the best freshman team in the NHL versus the NFL.
Let’s now do a quick summary against 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 top their 33-win season as a freshman team. They were still far short of a .500 team 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 set all-time records for expansion teams all season.
In the NFL, no team has won more than 7 games during its inaugural season. The Carolina Panthers went 7-9 in 1995. So once again, there is no team in football that can match the performance of the Vegas Knights.
The Vegas Golden Knights are the biggest expansion team in sports history, hands down.
In conclusion, the Las Vegas Golden Knights take home the award for “Most Expansion Team in Sports History.” The Golden Knights had a 200-1 chance to win the Stanley Cup (Las Vegas odds) at the start of the season. Now, they have 4-1 odds to take home the cup.
If the Vegas Golden Knights never win another game during the rest of the playoffs, they can still lay claim to being the most-expanded team in the history of the sport.
It’s very ironic that a “Vegas” sports team is able to defy such great 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 out is just icing on the cake. The Vegas Golden Knights are here to stay and their growing fan base couldn’t be more excited!