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5 Reasons the Vegas Golden Knights Will Win the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals

By Cornelius Sutton in Sports
| September 24, 2018 12:00 am PDT
Vegas Golden Knights Stanley Cup Finals-1

According to Bovada.lv, the odds for the Vegas Golden Knights to win the Stanley Cup are +1100.

That means that if you bet $100 on the Knights to win it all, you will profit $1100. By comparison, the Toronto Maple Leafs are the betting favorite, and they are +650 on Bovada.lv.

Bovada and the other top online sportsbooks may rate Toronto the highest, but they clearly see the Vegas Golden Knights as a contender.

Last season, the Knights treated Las Vegas to the greatest start and finish by any professional expansion team. No team from any of the four major sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, and NHL) has had the type of success the Golden Knights endured in their inaugural season.

A few changes have been made, so this isn’t the same Golden Knights team that took Las Vegas to a place they had never gone before. It’s better.

The man at the front of these changes is one of the reasons I see the Vegas Golden Knights improving on their inaugural season.

The Experience of George McPhee

General manager George McPhee has had a busy offseason. He started the offseason by picking up the award for NHL General Manager of the Year, but he didn’t stop there.

This is the same man that built the Washington Capitals into the champions they are today. George McPhee was the general manager for the Washington Capitals until 2014, so the foundation of the defending champs was laid down the years leading up to his departure.

The point is that this man has been in this spot before. He knows what it takes to build a championship roster, and that is exactly what he has been trying to do since the offseason began.

I was always under the belief that the Knights weren’t going to be able to keep all the players that helped them reach the Stanley Cup Finals. Well, it’s safe to say I was wrong about this.

Not only were the Knights able to keep a majority of their stars, but they also added even more talent.

Per usual, there were some subtractions from the defending Western Conference Champions’ roster, Butwiththose subtractions came some notable additions.

Roster Acquisitions for the Knights

As one of our leaders from last year’s team was leaving for Calgary, GM George McPhee was already working on bringing in two upgrades that quickly filled the hole that James Neal left.

First, McPhee went out and signed center Paul Stastny to a 3-year deal for $19.5 million. Stastny had 53 points in the 82 games he played last season – a significant improvement over James Neal’s 44 points.

I think it’s safe to say that McPhee was able to find a better replacement for the former Golden Knight James Neal.

You would think that would be enough of an upgrade, right? WRONG! George McPhee then went out and traded for one of the best captains in the NHL – Max Pacioretty.

Some critics felt the price to acquire Pacioretty was too high, but after the Knights announced he would be signing a 4-year extension, it was clear the Golden Knights were set on making another run at the Stanley Cup Finals.

This leads right into my next reason why the Vegas Golden Knights will be hoisting the Stanley Cup next season:roster depth.

Strength in Depth

In the inaugural season for the Vegas Golden Knights, one of the strengths for the team was their roster depth.

Vegas was able to run out four quality lines that could compete versus their counterparts. This is how the Golden Knights were able to win so many games. They simply out-worked their opponents.

Not many NHL teams have the depth to put out a 4th line and have that line be productive.

Now consider that the Knights were able to keep their starters from a season ago and add two veterans to an already deep squad. This should help you can see how much of an advantage the Vegas Knights have over their opponents.

When the other team is getting tired, the Knights are throwing another fresh line onto the ice,typically leading to a scoring shift.

The Golden Knights will stick with their first line of Jon Marchessault, William “Wild Bill” Karlsson, and Reilly Smith. It’s the second line that has me excited, though.

Newly acquired Max Pacioretty will team up with Paul Stastny and Alex Tuch to lead the 2nd line out on the ice. I like this trio because you have two veterans teamed up with a young gun in Alex Tuch.

Bottom line: this team is deep. It’s right up there with the deepest rosters in the NHL.

I thought the Knights ran out of gas late in the season, especially in the Stanley Cup Finals. What I see George McPhee doing here is making sure the Knights have enough depth that they won’t be worn down come playoff time.

I don’t see the Pacific Division being very strong this year, so the Knights can pace themselves and still win the division while getting ready for the grueling playoff season.

The State of the Pacific Division

I personally see this division as the weakest in all of the NHL. It consists of the Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, Calgary Flames, Edmonton Oilers, Vancouver Canucks, and the Arizona Coyotes.

The only team I see giving the Golden Knights trouble is the Los Angeles Kings. They were able to keep their team together as well as add forward Ilya Kovalchuk, who was the coveted free agent of the NHL offseason.

As far as the other teams in the division, I don’t see anything they did over the offseason that tells me they are making a run at the division.

Quite the opposite when compared to the Vegas Golden Knights. The Knights were the Pacific Division champs last season, and I see them cruising to back-to-back division titles. I’d like to see them push for the best overall record this season to secure home ice throughout the playoffs.

If you haven’t witnessed a home game at T-Mobile Arena, you are missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The players feel it, too – even the visiting teams.

Newly signed Max Pacioretty was quoted as saying that T-Mobile provided the best atmosphere he has experienced at any arena. Maybe that’s a reason why he was so willing to sign a 4-year extension with the Knights.

Players want to play for Vegas. They see how close the current players are and want to join the fun. Camaraderie is vital for a championship-winning team.

This leads me into my last reason as to why the Golden Knights will continue to come together and hoist Sir Stanley in 2019.

Camaraderie at the Knights

For me, this is the most important and most underrated factor for a championship team. This is a must for any team looking to win it all. Teammates have to be exactly that. They have to be willing to sacrifice whatever is needed for the betterment of the team.

If all the players are not on the same page, then chances are they will not come together as a team in pursuit of one common goal: winning!

The Vegas Golden Knights showed their team spirit last season. They were a group of “Golden Misfits” that were out to prove everyone wrong. Every player was told by their previous team that they were not wanted – that there was another player they wanted more.

In the end, this was a blessing in disguise. It motivated the Knights players to prove everyone wrong.

Ultimately, the Knights came up short of winning it all, but in the process, they motivated themselves to keep pushing towards their common goal: raising the Stanley Cup down the Las Vegas Strip!

Recap

No one gave the Vegas Golden Knights a shot last season. The sportsbooks put them as the biggest underdog to win the 2018 Stanley Cup, and they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Finals.

It was a roster full of misfits that came together to show the world that their previous teams made mistakes by not protecting them from the expansion draft.

That’s when George McPhee came in and worked his magic.

McPhee built a roster he knew would compete and fight all season. He didn’t stop there, though. He made sure he signed as many of the players from 2018 as he could,keeping the core together as well as adding two veterans any contender would love to have.

Add that Vegas is in one of the weaker divisions in the NHL, and they are primed to make another run at the Stanley Cup Finals. The only difference I see is that this roster that McPhee built is deeper and more talented.

Vegas is going for it all, folks! They feel they have unfinished business. The organization has done everything they can to set them up for another run at Las Vegas’ first professional sports championship.

I can’t wait to see this team of misfits lift the greatest trophy in all of sports – the 2019 Stanley Cup.

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