The Vegas Golden Knights have been the feel-good story of the first half of the NHL season. The expansion franchise is atop the Pacific Division with a 23-9-2 record and tied for first place in the Western Conference. In fact, only the Tampa Bay Lightning boast a higher points percentage. All this has Golden Knights owner Bill Foley chuffed and thinking about the playoffs—even though qualifying for the post-season wasn’t in the initial game plan heading into the year. “Every game that we win makes me a little more impatient, I have to say,” Foley said in a Q&A with VegasGoldenKnights.com lead writer Gary Lawless. “I had a timeline of playoffs in three and Stanley Cup in six. I felt like that was very achievable. I felt like we put ourselves in a position to do that with the draft and the draft for the coming years. I have to say I think I moved up our timeline a little bit because we are doing so well. The guys on the ice are gelling so well together. “Now we have a situation where we need to get some unrestricted free agents signed up to make sure we keep the core of this team in place.” Although Foley didn’t mention any players by name, three of those UFAs referenced could be forwards Jonathan Marchessault (32 points in 31 games), David Perron (27 points in 28 games) and James Neal (27 points in 34 games). Many felt heading into the season that trading away pending UFAs—especially veterans with some star power like Neal and Perron—would be a quick way to accumulate assets and bolster the long-term health of the franchise. However, the team’s early success might have thrown a wrench into things.
Golden Knights owner talks success, strategy, re-signing pending UFAs
Sportsnet | Dec 27