CALL it the fundamental law of expansion teams: when new franchises join North America’s closed team-sports leagues, they aren’t supposed to be very good. Cobbling together their initial rosters from the detritus incumbent clubs choose to make available, expansion teams typically need several years to develop young talent and acquire appropriate veterans. As the National Hockey League (NHL) has grown from 21 teams in 1990 to its present membership of 31, it has delivered few exceptions. Even the San Jose Sharks, a perennial contender for most of their 26-year history, won less than one-fifth of their games during their first two campaigns.
The latest addition to the NHL ranks, however, is the Las Vegas Golden Knights, who are charting a new course. Making their debut in October, they won eight of their first nine contests. Now, 32 games into their inaugural season, they remain well ahead of the typical expansion team′s path. Their record of 21-9-2—the NHL counts overtime victories as wins, but overtime losses separately—places them…Continue reading
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