Sport Stanley Cup Final 2018: After miraculous run, Golden Knights face even more interesting offseason

17:21  08 june  2018
17:21  08 june  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights insert Tomas Tatar into lineup for Game 4

  Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights insert Tomas Tatar into lineup for Game 4 The Golden Knights are down 2-1 to the Capitals in the series after suffering consecutive losses for the first time in the playoff.According to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Tatar — acquired at the trade deadline from the Red Wings — is expected to replace David Perron, skating on Cody Eakin’s third line, though Gallant wouldn't confirm that after the morning skate.

The Golden Knights haven’t looked like themselves in the Stanley Cup Final , and a lot of that is a credit to the Capitals’ adjustments. In 10 of their 15 games preceding the Stanley Cup Final , the Knights held a lead after two periods. They won each time.

The Golden Knights haven’t looked like themselves in the Stanley Cup Final , and a lot of that is a credit to the Capitals’ adjustments. Best fits for unsigned 2018 NFL free agents. Stephen Curry takes lead on Finals MVP NBA.

Over a year before the Vegas Golden Knights even selected their team in the expansion draft, owner Bill Foley had set a timeline in his head.

Between 25 and 30 wins in their inaugural season, 40 wins in year two, 50 wins and the franchise's first playoff appearance in year three, and win the Stanley Cup in year six.

Erik Karlsson, James Neal are posing for a picture: Eri Karlsson, William Karlsson, and James Neal © (GETTY IMAGES) Eri Karlsson, William Karlsson, and James Neal

Time can be something that's hard to keep track of in a town like Las Vegas though, and less than a year after announcing a roster that no one thought would sniff the playoffs, Vegas came within three victories of doing the unthinkable, of winning a championship in their first year of competition.

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Las Vegas tables 'premature' parade plans for Golden Knights

  Stanley Cup Final 2018: Las Vegas tables 'premature' parade plans for Golden Knights Barring an epic comeback in the Stanley Cup Final, the shiny silver trophy won't be headed to the Sin City. That won't stop them from celebrating the Golden Knights' historic season, though.Word of the Clark County Commission's plans to throw a parade for the Golden Knights — win or lose — leaked before Monday's Game 4. The team has since worked to distance itself from the idea, saying it was not notified about the Tuesday agenda item to finalize plans.

2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Central: Schedule, scores, highlights. 1dESPN.com. Ovechkin, Capitals looking for 3-1 lead in Stanley Cup Final (1:12). Emily Kaplan breaks down the latest from the Capitals and Golden Knights heading into Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final .

Here's a look at why the Capitals have got this and some reasons the Stanley Cup might still be a possibility for the expansion darlings from Sin City. After a thorough 6-2 win in Game 4, the Capitals are up 3-1 on the Golden Knights in the Stanley Cup Final .

"It's a great journey," Erik Haula said. "Great journey, semi-sad ending."

After an unfathomable inaugural season, it's hard to imagine ever seeing something like this again. The NHL will add another franchise in a few years in Seattle, and teams will double- and triple-check their expansion draft strategy to make sure they don't give up the kinds of assets the George McPhee and the Golden Knights were able to assemble. Don't expect nearly as many trades, and for everything to just fall in line as it did for Vegas.

But back to those Golden Knights, because now, things gets really interesting.

MORE: Golden Knights' luck finally running out against Capitals

With Vegas' first offseason officially underway, there is perhaps no team in the NHL that faces as many questions as the Golden Knights do, and such an interesting philosophical crossroads.

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights vs. Capitals live score, updates from Game 5

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Tom Wilson #43 of Washington Capitals is congratulated by teammates after scoring goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Capital One Arena on June 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Tom Wilson #43 of Washington Capitals is congratulated by teammates after scoring goal against the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 4 of 2018 NHL Stanley Cup Final at Capital One Arena on June 4, 2018 in Washington, DC.

McPhee has been steadfast in saying his approach was to build for the future of the team, even while Vegas sat atop the Western Conference standings for much of the regular season, and ended up winning the Pacific Division.

That also didn't stop McPhee from trading first-, second-, and third-round picks for Red Wings forward Tomas Tatar prior to the 2018 deadline, and also reportedly more than dipping his toes in the water on Senators defenseman Erik Karlsson.

It's hard to imagine a team coming so close to winning a championship to only turn around and mortgage current assets to prepare for the future. Vegas may have come in a bit faster than the six-year timeline laid out by Foley, but depending on how much stock they put into this performance, they could gear up for another deep playoff run, or avoid playing the big pot and fold their hand.

First and foremost, McPhee and co. will have a number of decisions to make on current players scheduled for free agency. James Neal and David Perron would both be unrestricted free agents come July 1. While it's hard to envision Vegas re-signing the latter, especially after he was a scratch in Game 4, the former was also a player many expected to be traded at some point in-season.

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Loss prevents sportsbooks from taking Knight-time bath

  Stanley Cup Final 2018: Loss prevents sportsbooks from taking Knight-time bath Las Vegas sportsbooks might've lost up to $6 million had the Knights, up to 500-1 long shots to win, brought home the Stanley Cup.Nevada sportsbooks were off the hook for futures wagers on the Golden Knights winning the NHL championship at odds as high as 500-1.

The Golden Knights ’ storybook season has, perhaps for the first time, hit an unlucky spell, with Vegas now facing elimination in the Stanley Cup Final .

After placing wagers at 200-1 (or more ) for a Golden Knights championship, these fans are looking at their "joke" bets a little more seriously. 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs Central: Schedule, scores, highlights. 19hESPN.com.

Neal, who scored 25 goals for Vegas this season, will be 31 years old when the 2018-19 season begins. He's coming off a six-year, $30-million contract that he consistently produced over the life of.

If Vegas really is committed to its future, would it pony up and give a 31-year-old Neal the term that he could likely get elsewhere on the open market? That decision likely comes down to the edict Vegas operates under this offseason, and the handling of Neal could be a pretty good litmus test into how the Golden Knights approach this offseason.

But the real intrigue lies in Vegas' restricted free agents, a group that features Colin Miller, Shea Theodore, and William Karlsson.

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The latter two will present very difficult contract negotiations. Karlsson is one of eight players in the league that scored 40 or more goals this season. Other than Patrik Laine (entry-level contract), three of the five other skaters carry an annual average value of $5.75 million or higher.

Karlsson made $1 million this past season, the 457th-highest paid player in the NHL, the best bargain deal in hockey. He's also the first player in the past 20 seasons (and likely much longer) to go from having never scored at least 10 goals in a single season with three years of NHL service to then scoring at least 40 goals. He got to 43 while scoring on 23.4-percent of his shots, the most efficient 40-goal season over those same past two decades.

Marc-Andre Fleury hopes to finish career with Golden Knights

  Marc-Andre Fleury hopes to finish career with Golden Knights Marc-Andre Fleury made it clear where he wants to finish out his days in the NHL.Marc-Andre Fleury remained in good spirits despite the letdown. He didn't completely dwell over Thursday night's loss, either. The Vegas goaltender cracked a smile as he joked about exceeding expectations, but also spoke about his future with the Golden Knights.

Vegas will open the Stanley Cup Final with home ice Them With 4-2 Win; Vegas Golden Knights Will Face Off the Golden Knights hit the ice in regular Vegas Golden Knights a legit Stanley Cup Bogdanovich's William Hill sportsbook listed the city's new hockey team as

They'll move on to the Stanley Cup Final , where they'll face the Vegas Golden Knights and have a chance to win the first D. Get ready for this critical NHL Playoffs showdown with a preview that includes the schedule, start time, TV channel, live stream site, odds, picks and more .

It's really impossible to determine what's "fair value" for Karlsson. But it's something that Vegas will have to attempt to figure, and that Karlsson carries arbitration rights adds in another wrinkle. Or would this be the summer that a rival general manager finally makes use of an offer sheet?

Even if William Karlsson never hits the 40-goal mark again, to fall in the 20, 25 range is still a very productive piece, the type you don't just let walk (a few teams having handed those players over to Vegas will confirm that).

Staying on the topic of Karlsson, it also remains possible that McPhee tries to re-engage Senators general manager Pierre Dorion in trade discussions centered around Erik Karlsson.

Vegas has the cap space to add the all-star defenseman and take on the contract of forward Bobby Ryan. The Golden Knights own a bounty of draft picks and have a few high-end prospects that could be packaged to form an attractive offer for Ottawa.

There will be plenty of teams that ring Dorion, but Vegas' previous reported interest and the pieces it has to offer give them an opportunity to put themselves firmly in that race. But again that largely hinges on the direction McPhee takes. Erik Karlsson has a year remaining on his contract, and then is set for a massive payday. But moreover, without a guarantee from Karlsson that he'll re-up in the summer of 2019, it's a major hedge to acquire Karlsson and risk losing him 12 months later for nothing. Especially for a team that defied expectations this season, but will certainly have a ton of questions entering year two.

Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights vs. Capitals live score, updates from Game 2

  Stanley Cup Final 2018: Golden Knights vs. Capitals live score, updates from Game 2 The Washington Capitals look to even up the Stanley Cup Final at a game apiece. Sporting News will provide live updates from Game 2.Vegas put on an epic pregame show, which included an appearance by legendary boxing announcer Michael Buffer, and then the Capitals and Golden Knights one-upped their opening act in a 6-4 back-and-forth thriller won by the home team.

2018 Stanley Cup Final : Vegas Golden Knights vs. Washington Capitals Game 4 — Start time, TV schedule, and open thread. New, 64 comments. The Capitals have the advantage, but can the Golden Knights pull off yet another surprising result?

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But if Vegas really does have faith in its current hand, calling Ottawa back makes a good deal of sense. Over the next three years, the Golden Knights own two first-round picks and six second-round picks. They also would give the Senators an out-of-conference trade partner.

GOLDEN STANDARD

How the Knights bet on themselves to become the most successful expansion franchise in North American sports history

Should Vegas go the true "expansion route" though, all of those assets quickly become very valuable. Prospects Cody Glass and Nick Suzuki are coming off fantastic junior seasons, and could compete for NHL roster spots as soon as next season. (Suzuki finished his season in AHL Chicago, and it seems unlikely Glass would return for an overage year in the WHL after recording 102 points in 64 games.)

The Golden Knights don't own their 2018 first-round pick (Tatar trade) and won't pick until 60th overall, a long wait to get up to the podium, unless McPhee trades back into the first or second rounds.

In probably 99 out of 100 instances, a team coming so close to winning a championship would almost certainly make moves with a mind to filling a few holes, adding depth, and putting itself in the best position to get right back to the top the following season.

But the Vegas Golden Knights really are a 1 in 100, or 1 in a million situation. It's why McPhee will find himself in a very interesting position when the Golden Knights front office sits down and maps out the next few months.

Capitals commemorate Golden Knights with full-page ad in Las Vegas paper .
The Caps congratulated the Golden Knights on a competitive run in the championship series and a historic first season.The Stanley Cup champions took out a full page in the Las Vegas Review-Journal to congratulate the Golden Knights on a competitive run in the championship series and a historic first season in the league.

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