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2017%E2%80%9318 Vegas Golden Knights Season
Inaugural season; strongest debut for an expansion team in North American sports history
The Golden Knights enjoyed the strongest debut season for an expansion team in North American professional sports history. On February 1, 2018, they broke the record for most wins by an expansion team in their first season when they earned their 34th win of the season. On February 21, they broke the record for most points by an expansion team in their inaugural season when they got their 84th point of the season. Then on March 26, they became the first team to make the playoffs in their inaugural season in the league since the Edmonton Oilers and Hartford Whalers in the 1979-80 season. Following that achievement, on March 31, 2018, with a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks, the Knights became the first modern-era expansion team from any of the four major sports and the first NHL team since the 1926-27 New York Rangers to win their division in their inaugural season (excluding the 1967-68 Philadelphia Flyers, as all teams in the West Division that year were expansion teams). The Golden Knights finished the regular season with a .665 points percentage; prior to 2018 the only examples of first year expansion teams joining any of the North American major professional sports leagues after their respective league's first decade and finishing with a winning/points percentage of .500 or better were teams that had joined from another league.
Earning a playoff berth in their first season, the Golden Knights eliminated the Los Angeles Kings in four straight games during the First Round, becoming the first team in NHL history to sweep their first playoff series in their inaugural season. They later defeated the San Jose Sharks in the Second Round in six games and advanced to the Western Conference Finals. There they defeated the Winnipeg Jets in five games to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals in their inaugural season where they faced the Washington Capitals, and lost in five games.
The team filled its initial roster by selecting players in the 2017 NHL Expansion Draft on June 21, 2017. They were required to select or sign one player, who was not protected, from each existing team. In return for not selecting certain unprotected players, Vegas made several deals to grant concessions with some teams.
Hurricanes traded Boston's fifth-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (previously acquired) in exchange for Vegas selecting Brickley. Brickley was a pending unrestricted free agent and signed with the Panthers on July 1.
Jets traded their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and a third-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Vegas selecting Thorburn and Columbus' first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft (previously acquired). Thorburn was a pending unrestricted free agent and signed with the Blues on July 1.
Lightning traded their second-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Pittsburgh's fourth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft (previously acquired) and Nikita Gusev in exchange for Vegas selecting Garrison.
Islanders traded their first-round pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, a second-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Mikhail Grabovski and Jake Bischoff in exchange for Vegas selecting Berube. Berube was a pending unrestricted free agent and would sign with the Blackhawks on July 1.
Before the draft lottery, the Golden Knights were given the same odds as the team with the third worst point total from the 2016-17 season, which meant that they would not draft any lower than sixth overall and would draft third in each subsequent round. On April 30, 2017, the Golden Knights received a sixth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft during the draft lottery.