The Vegas Golden Knights aren't the first Stanley Cup team with turnover

Losing a sizable amount of players isn't anything new to the NHL. The Vegas Golden Knights are a perfect example of this.
2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five
2023 NHL Stanley Cup Final - Game Five / Ethan Miller/GettyImages

Take a look at this picture for a second. There are numerous names no longer with the team. Nothing's meant to last forever, for time changes everything. That includes Stanley Cup-winning teams from a year prior, which is true in the salary cap era.

The Vegas Golden Knights are no different from this, with five unrestricted free agents (skaters) from their championship season leaving this year. It's a bitter reality that most fans don't want to face. Just look at the list of players from the 2022-23 team that are playing elsewhere:

  • Jonathan Marchessault: Signed with Nashville
  • Chandler Stephenson: Signed with Seattle
  • Michael Amadio: Signed with Ottawa
  • Alec Martinez: Signed with Chicago
  • William Carrier: Signed with Carolina

That's a good chunk of the lineup gone. It's almost like this isn't the same team that captured everyone's hearts. The exodus makes the team feel... soulless.

However, that's not the case, for the Golden Knights aren't the first team to deal with many players leaving. In fact, it's become a bit of the norm in the NHL sphere, with the Florida Panthers being a good example.

They're the latest Stanley Cup champions, defeating the Edmonton Oilers, 4-3. They also dealt with many players leaving town for different cities, including Brandon Montour. He'll join Chandler Stephenson in Seattle to help the team win the Stanley Cup.

Of course, this comes from re-signing key center, Sam Reinhart, to an eight-year, $69 million deal. A majority of that money tied up to one player will cause smaller depth pieces to go elsewhere. That's a sad reality of living in the salary cap era.

The Colorado Avalanche have dealt with this, too

In 2022, Nazem Kadri was a key part of the Stanley Cup run for the Colorado Avalanche. He scored 28 goals and 87 points during that run, adding seven goals and eight assists during the Stanley Cup playoffs. After winning it all, he went to the Calgary Flames on a seven-year, $49 million deal.

Losing key players like Jonathan Marchessault hurts. That much is true. However, it's a part of a cruel business that doesn't care about allegiances to specific players. Therefore, it's become normal for beloved figures to leave town a year or two after winning the championship. Take Kadri as a shining example of this, who got a new deal after a career season.

After all, Vegas Golden Knights fans should be loyal to the logo on the jersey, not whose jersey that is. The memories will still be there, whether it's winning the Conn Smythe trophy or scoring the series-clinching goal. Who knows? Maybe the Golden Knights win another Stanley Cup with a better piece (possibly Mitch Marner or Leon Draisaitl?).