The Vegas Golden Knights became a genuine contender faster than anyone could've anticipated, and are going to reap obvious unintended benefits, as a result, this summer.
Against all projections, Vegas made the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season and is now looking to topple the Washington Capitals, splitting the first two games of the series.
Since the vast majority of the Golden Knights' roster was accrued through the expansion draft, the team has ample cap space and will be a major player in free agency, owner Bill Foley indicated in an extensive Q+A with The Athletic's Pierre LeBrun.
Oh, we're going to make an effort. There's always transition on a team. There's always two, three or four guys that will want to do something else or who may want a little more term or a little more money than we're prepared to advance. We like all of our guys, we love our players. But we're realists. And they're businessmen just like we are. So we're planning right now. Vaughn Karpan, our director of player personnel, has been in the last week or so, we're analyzing all the free agents, we're thinking about who might be a UFA that might come our direction; we're thinking about other guys under contract with various teams that maybe get traded, maybe their contracts are a little heavy for that team. And we have $30 million in cap space, so we have a lot of cap space and we have the money to spend. We're not going to be shy.
Foley also indicated the Golden Knights exceeded his initial expectations.
"I first said three years, in three years we'd get there and be in the playoffs. I was sort of timing our draft picks we got last year, that those guys would start rotating in, in about three to five years and then we'd make a run in five. But I misjudged the character and the quality and dedication of our team. They're unbelievable."
The Golden Knights are undeniably one of the surprise stories of the North American sports calendar and it's a scary proposition that they could stand to significantly improve over the summer.
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