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Writer Calls Vegas Golden Knights Best New Team In History Of Sports

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AP Photo/John Locher

Vegas Golden Knights defenseman Brad Hunt, right, skates around Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Matt Calvert during the first period of a game on January 23, 2018.

“The Vegas Golden Knights are only halfway through their inaugural season, and they’ve already redefined what anyone thought was possible for an NHL expansion franchise.”

Those words did not come from a press release issued by the Las Vegas hockey team or a fan’s blog.

Instead they start a recent story at the ESPN-owned fivethirtyeight.com website, which takes a stats-heavy look at sports and politics.

Senior sportswriter Neil Paine uses a variety of metrics to conclude that the Golden Knights are not just the most successful expansion team in the history of pro hockey, but the most successful expansion team in the history of pro sports.

The team’s success provides “an entirely new yardstick with which to compare every other expansion club that comes along in the future, no matter the sport,” Paine writes.

New teams like the Golden Knights fill their rosters with players that other franchises feel are expendable and leave unprotected in an expansion draft. That typically makes for hapless expansion teams that dwell in the cellar.

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The fivethirtyeight article speculates that the Golden Knights were able to defy history by having above-average talent available in the draft, stellar play from goaltenders Marc-Andre Fleury and Malcolm Subban, and good coaching.

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Neil Paine, fivethirtyeight.com writer

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