If you are a hockey fan & bettor, there are few sites better than Canada-based Bovada as it usually comes up with some unique props on the sport. And there’s one up currently: Will the Vegas Golden Knights make the 2018 playoffs?
The Vegas Golden Knights begin play as an NHL expansion franchise in the 2017-18 regular season and will reside in the Pacific Division. That means the Central will be the only division in hockey without eight teams for what that’s worth. I would think having 31 teams instead of an even number would cause some scheduling problems, but that’s a story for another day.
The Golden Knights as of this writing have just one player: 21-year-old Reid Duke, who was signed in March to an entry-level deal out of the Western Hockey League. Yet the lack of a team hasn’t stopped Bovada from posting an NHL prop on whether Vegas makes the 2018 Stanley Cup playoffs: yes is +325 and no is -550.
Vegas will get most of its players in this summer’s expansion draft. All 30 existing teams must submit their list of protected players by 5 p.m. ET June 17. Each team can protect either seven forwards, three defensemen and one goaltender or eight skaters of any position and one goaltender. Vegas must submit its selections by 5 p.m. June 20, with the announcement of those picks made June 21 during the NHL Awards ceremony at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
We did find out over the weekend that Vegas will pick sixth in the NHL Draft, moving back three spots from where it was slotted. The New Jersey Devils won the draft lottery despite just an 8.5 percent of doing so. The Golden Knights’ coach is Gerard Gallant. The former NHL player opened the 2016-17 season as Florida’s coach but was fired on Nov. 28 with the Panthers are 11-10-1. He also was coach with Columbus from 2004-06.
The team’s GM is George McPhee. He was previously general manager of the Washington Capitals for 17 years. McPhee already has said he has had preliminary discussions with most teams over what trades could be made before the expansion draft is held in Las Vegas. McPhee said talks have focused on which players teams would prefer the Golden Knights either select or don't.
So will the Golden Knights make the 2018 playoffs? That’s not likely, but we have to wait and see which players they do get. The NHL last added teams in 2000 with the Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild. Columbus was in the Central Division then and finished last with 71 points. Minnesota was in the Northwest and was last with 68 points.