The days of the “Golden Misfits” are now over for the Vegas Golden Knights.
After bringing together an unlikely cast of other team’s castoffs and players who had been flung into hockey wildness, the Vegas Golden Knights shocked the world by making a stunning run to the Stanley Cup Final in their inaugural year.
Since then the Golden Knights have moved quickly to establish themselves as a powerhouse in the National Hockey League, pulling the trigger on a series of ruthless and cold but calculated moves in order to win now.
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From trading big pieces of their future for proven stars in Max Pacioretty and Mark Stone to being aggressive in both Free Agency and at the Trade Deadline, this organization is committed to bringing a Stanley Cup to Sin City.
And, as proven by the boatload of ruthless moves made so far this off-season, it is perhaps fair to suggest that the “Golden Misfits” is now officially over for the Golden Knights.
Only nine players remain from the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft following Free Agency, which saw a number of core players from that inaugural roster depart.
Defenseman Jon Merrill signed for the Detroit Red Wings in Free Agency, while the heartbeat of this franchise, Deryk Engelland wasn’t re-signed by the team and he could take up a front office role should he opt to retire.
Much-loved blueliner Nate Schmidt was then dealt to the Vancouver Canucks for a 2022 Third Round pick in order to create the cap space needed to sign elite defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, and another “Golden Misfit” could have been dealt with face of the franchise Marc-Andre Fleury aggressively being shopped in trade talks.
But, while Fleury will remain for at least the 2020-21 season, this isn’t your fathers Golden Knights team anymore.
Once the second favorite team of many NHL fans, the Golden Knights have now become the team that other teams love to beat and opposition fans love to hate on.
They are assembling their own version of a fully operational Death Star, with little room for sentiment and what has been achieved in the past.
No matter what you’ve done for this franchise, no one appears safe anymore as best proven by the trade of Schmidt, who had established himself as a very good top-four defenseman with the Golden Knights.
Instead, the Knights put their big boy pants on, they’ve put a tie on and they’ve gone and got a job at the bank, shedding the lovable little brother tag.
This franchise is now all business and they have proven time and time again that they will literally do whatever it takes in order to win and win now.
That includes making the tough decisions and saying goodbye to players who played a huge role in putting the Vegas Golden Knights on the map and making hockey work in the desert.
But the “Golden Misfits” era is now officially over and the Golden Knights will now embark on what they hope will be a new era defined by winning and multiple championships, no matter the cost when it comes to outside perceptions.