Las Vegas Sun

May 23, 2019

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Golden Knights’ advice for Seattle: ‘Have fun’


Steve Marcus

Vegas Golden Knights head coach Gerard Gallant, center, watches play in the second period during the Knight’s season opener against the Philadelphia Flyers at T-Mobile Arena Thursday, Oct. 4, 2018.

Golden Knights coach Gerard Gallant smiled when asked if he had any advice for the future Seattle hockey coach.

“Have fun,” he said.

The NHL Board of Governors today unanimously approved placing the league’s 32nd team in Seattle. The unnamed team, set to begin play in the 2021-22 season, will join the Pacific Division, giving it an up-close look at the last expansion team — Vegas.

“It’s a really exciting day for people in Seattle, exciting day for the National Hockey League,” Vegas assistant general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “It’s a beautiful city, a growing city. Geographically, a really good fit for the NHL.”

The Golden Knights redefined expectations for an expansion team when they reached the Stanley Cup Final last season.

The NHL gave Vegas a more favorable expansion draft format compared to past teams, and the Golden Knights acquired 2017-18 All-Stars Marc-Andre Fleury and James Neal through the draft, as well as William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, David Perron, Erik Haula, Cody Eakin and Nate Schmidt, among others.

Seattle will follow the same expansion draft format as the Golden Knights, with each team allowed to protect seven forwards, three defenseman and a goalie, or eight skaters and a goalie. Vegas will be exempt from the Seattle expansion draft.

“We’re pleased that we won’t be losing a player to Seattle,” McCrimmon said. “It’ll be a good process to be an observer on and not in the uncomfortable position the other 30 teams will be in.”

McCrimmon said Seattle representatives have not called the Golden Knights for advice on building a team. They may not need it, he said.

Prior to the Golden Knights’ inaugural season last year, it had been 17 years since the last expansion, and the Golden Knights had to forge a path through a drastically different league.

This time, Seattle will have less than five years between expansions.

“Our situation is much more relevant because the landscape is so similar for Seattle as to what it was for us,” McCrimmon said. “There’s a lot to learn for Seattle from what we did without ever having a conversation with us, quite frankly.”

“They’re going to I think have a pretty good understanding of what they need to do,” McCrimmon said. “Obviously, any information they can get more specific about what we went through I’m sure will be valuable, but at the same time, some of that is going to be proprietary.”

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