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  • FERRELL: Comparing the Expansion Golden Knights to the Expansion Wild

    Giles Ferrell

    At the end of October -- their first month in the league -- the Vegas Golden Knights continue to be the darling of the NHL as they have impressively won eight of their first nine games. This start is the best by a first year team in the 100-year history of the National Hockey League.


    You may recall the last expansion team to enter the league before Vegas did, was the Minnesota Wild -- and Columbus Blue Jackets -- back in 2000. Minnesota owner Bob Naegele paid a slightly smaller fee ($80 million) than Vegas owner Bill Foley did ($500 million), so naturally one would expect the Golden Knights to be a bit more competitive than the Wild were in their first season.


    How did the expansion Wild do in their first nine games compared to the Golden Knights? Well, let's take a stroll down memory lane and compare the results.



    GAME-BY-GAME RESULTS (first nine games)

    Minnesota (1-5-3-0): 1-3 L @ ANA, 1-4 L @ PHX, 3-3 T vs PHI(home opener), 0-2 L @ STL, 3-5 L vs EDM, 6-5 W vs TB, 1-3 L vs SJ, 0-0 T vs FLA, 2-2 T @ MTL



    Vegas (8-1-0): 2-1 W @ DAL, 2-1 W @ ARZ, 5-2 W vs ARZ(home opener), 3-6 L vs DET, 3-1 W vs BOS, 5-4 W vs BUF, 3-2 W vs STL, 4-2 W vs CHI, 7-0 W vs COL




    Goals For/Game: 1.8

    Goals Against/Game: 3.0

    Power Play: 8.0 percent (29th)

    Penalty Kill: 77.5 percent (24th)

    Leading Scorers

    Scott Pellerin - 1 goal-6 assists-7 points

    Maxim Sushinsky - 4-2--6

    Jim Dowd - 1-5--6

    Marian Gaborik - 4-1--5

    Darby Hendrickson - 1-2--3


    Jamie McLennan - 1-4-2, 2.67 GAA, .906 SV%, 1 SO

    Manny Fernandez - 0-1-1, 3.36 GAA, .894 SV%


    Goals For/Game: 3.7

    Goals against/Game: 2.1

    Power Play: 15.3 percent (19th)

    Penalty Kill: 86.2 percent (6th)

    Leading Scorers

    James Neal - 7 goals-3 assists-10 points

    David Perron - 3-4--7

    Reilly Smith - 2-5--7

    Nate Schmidt - 1-5--6

    Luca Sbisa - 0-6--6


    Marc Andre-Fleury - 3-1-0, 2.48 GAA, .925 SV%

    Malcolm Subban - 2-0-0, 2.06 GAA, .936 SV%

    Oscar Dansk - 3-0-0, 1.34 GAA, .959 SV%, 1 SO

    (all stats courtesy of NHL.com/Hockey Reference)



    These teams boast nearly opposite starts, with Vegas getting absolutely insane goaltending compared to the less-than-stellar numbers of Minnesota. Goal scoring for Minnesota was not great, as Maxim Sushinsky and rookie Marian Gaborik had combined for nearly half of the Wild's goals in those first nine games. In fact, only eight other players had tallied a goal).


    Meanwhile, on the Vegas side, James Neal stands out in the goal department, but 15 other players on the Vegas roster has tallied at least a goal on the young season.

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