Praise Be To Foley, Vegas Golden Knights Hockey Website

Tag: Nashville Predators

Lessons To Be Learned From Nashville And San Jose

Two years in a row the Stanley Cup will be fought for by Pittsburgh and a “non-traditional market.” Like San Jose last season, Nashville won the West and made it to their first Cup final in franchise history. Analysts, like Pierre LeBrun believe the Golden Knights can learn from teams like the Predators and Sharks. If the empty seats in Ottawa didn’t blow up the whole anti-hockey in warm climate traditionalists, nothing will.  Let’s face it purist punks, you didn’t see any empty playoff seats in Nashville and San Jose.

This year’s San Jose is Nashville. Another non-traditional market that has been run the right way. Just like the Sharks, always have been. Always had a loyal following. Good ownership. And here they are… you have model organizations from non-traditional markets in San Jose and Nashville that get to the final. –Pierre LeBrun, on TSN Hamilton 1150

LeBrun believes Vegas can become a successful franchise by designing themselves after the Sharks and Predators organizations. Sure neither team has secured a Stanley Cup of their own but both franchises are well-run and consistently competitive. San Jose has qualified for the postseason 19 times in 25 seasons, and Nashville has qualified 10 in 19 seasons.

Not only does Nashville prove that, but we had it last year with San Jose reaching the Cup final. And what a wonderful story it was for the Sharks. Finally get over the hump and get to the final after years and years of being a contender. People took for granted that the Sharks sell out all the time. Oh yeah, San Jose. Shark Tank. What’s so different about a team in the middle of San Jose, California having success when teams in Arizona and Carolina haven’t hadn’t had as much success the last ten years? The difference is stability in management. -LeBrun

Consistency keeps fans interested and loyal. Once Vegas builds that strong, faithful fanbase, it’ll be easier during periodic lean years. Another factor LeBrun mentioned a few times. Nashville and San Jose have strong ownership and a dedication the fans to win. Who does that sound like? It’s really that way across all the professional leagues, it starts with a strong owner.

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Guest Post: Previous Expansion Teams a Guideline for Las Vegas Management Setup

One of our goals here at is to be the voice of the valley when it comes to the NHL. In trying to do so we often have the opportunity to interact with some incredible people (and excellent writers) who are equally as passionate about hockey in Las Vegas as we are. Therefore, we wanted to give you, our readers, the opportunity to let your voice be heard via guest posts to the site.

Our next guest post comes from Vsem Yenovkian.

Las Vegas hockey fans have been eagerly waiting for that moment when the NHL finally (hopefully) makes the announcement that Las Vegas will be the 31st team to join the NHL. While that would seem like the end of a long journey that began over a year ago, in reality it will be the beginning of what will be a whirlwind first few weeks for the new franchise. Within a few weeks of the announcement the new Las Vegas team will have to name a team President and General Manager, followed by setting up the management structure including a scouting group and the coaches.

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Where Should We Expect Vegas To Pick In The Entry Draft

Expansion rules have dominated the media, and this site, for the past week, but the expansion draft is just one of three different ways by which the inaugural Las Vegas NHL team will be constructed. The other two are via free agency and through the NHL Entry Draft.

The league has made it clear they want to give The Creator and his team a good shot at being competitive early on in the franchise’s existence. But most of comments made under that guise are focused on the expansion draft not the entry draft.

In the past expansion teams usually select near the top of the draft, but not in the first slot. In 2000, Minnesota picked third and Columbus fourth. In 1999, Atlanta was given the second pick and moved up to one. And in 1998 Nashville was awarded the third pick but traded up to second.

So it’s reasonable, based on precedent for our team to select somewhere between second and fourth. But, there’s this thing call the lottery that may throw things off a bit.

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30, 40, 50 Wins, The Three Year Plan

Expansion teams in the NHL, and any professional league for that matter, often struggle early in their existence. Here in Vegas the same is expected by most. But, there’s one very important person who’s not so sure it’s going to take that long.

Our goal is to win 25-30 games the first season, 40 games the second season, 50 games the third season and be in the playoffs. -The Creator

Praise be to Foley!

The Creator has never been shy about his desire to not only bring a team to Las Vegas, but to bring us a winning one. I for one love the three year plan. However, going off some of the things we’ve learned, it might actually be modest.

There have been multiple rumors stating the expansion draft may have “looser rules,” and there’s even an unnamed GM on record concerned he may lose some of his best young talent.

Then, there’s this…

We have no players under contract, and the salary cap is $72 or $74 million. So it depends on how much they will let us use in the first year. It may be all or it may not be all. But we’ll do well.

In other words. I’m spending every dime they’ll let me to be good.

The Minnesota Wild made the postseason in their third year. It took Nashville six seasons to make the playoffs. Atlanta needed seven, and Columbus eight. So conventional odds are certainly stacked against Las Vegas.

But that was a different time. All four of those teams came in the league within three years of each other. So not only were they selected from a watered down expansion pool, but they were also all competing against each other to fill their rosters in the subsequent years.

The more we hear about the issues in Canada, the less likely it seems Quebec will join Vegas in expansion. So, we’ll have run on the entire expansion draft, have a high pick in the Entry Draft (possibly first), and have an owner who is willing to spend every dime of the salary cap.

30, 40, 50 sounds good. But it’s really not that unrealistic to think it could be 40, 50, 50+, and maybe even a Cup.

Guest Post: Tying The Lessons Of Nashville To Las Vegas

One of our goals here at is to be the voice of the valley when it comes to the NHL. In trying to do so we often have the opportunity to interact with some incredible people (and excellent writers) who are equally as passionate about hockey in Las Vegas as we are. Therefore, we wanted to give you, our readers, the opportunity to let your voice be heard via guest posts to the site.

Our next guest post comes from Stephen J Sochor.

The NHL All-Star Game takes place this weekend, and with it, another chance to get some updates from the NHL’s commissioner himself about the status of the expansion process. With two special sessions undertaken by the Executive Committee regarding Las Vegas and Quebec this month, there should be enough of a foundation for Gary to share with the public. He will most likely echo what has already been written about. In case of the off-chance there is big news I reached out the Nashville Predator’s play-by-play announcer Pete Weber on how Nashville got its start to see if we can come to any conclusions.

Nashville was given a conditional franchise in June of 1997 along with Atlanta, Minnesota, and Columbus. The plan was to have Nashville, along with Atlanta, join in 1999, with Minnesota and Columbus jumping in for the 2000-01 season. According to Weber, however, Nashville lobbied the league to come in a year earlier than scheduled.

“At the time, the plan was for the Predators to join the NHL the same year that the then-Tennessee Oilers were set to move to Nashville themselves.” – Pete Weber

This move to jump the gun was spear-headed by then owner Craig Leipold, and the NHL would grant such a request if they could sell 12,000 season tickets by March of 1998. The early entry was granted and they were able to become the first professional franchise in Nashville without any competition.

“In hindsight, Nashville would have liked to have had joined with the Titans at the same time because that first year for the Titans was when they went to the Super Bowl and that generated a lot of [interest]. It ended up favoring Nashville obviously because they did not have to share [an expansion draft].”

As we stand with the NHL in regards to Vegas, we know there has been no formal recommendation made to move to a vote on expansion. It would be highly suspect that one would occur if there was not enough support for at least one team to be accepted. To round out the next handful of months, there feels as though there are a few chances to get this process completed. It is most likely that in order to have the expansion situation ironed out, there has to be a ton of work behind the scenes with the owners, the league, and the players association being conducted. Intertwined with such back-room talks has to be the input of Bill Foley, and it would be easy to see that given the practice arena is all but ready to go (such an undertaking does not happen on a hunch, and was not part of any multi-structure financing package since T-Mobile Arena stands on its own financially).

Could Foley quietly be leading a charge to entering into a Nashville-esque entry? It’s not probable, but the signs are all there – the least of which is the deafening silence coming from the Foley camp. It’s said throughout sports that whenever it is the quietest, that is when most of the work is being done…and it’s been awful quiet for an awfully long time.

Back to Mr. Weber who had an interesting tidbit as we drew our conversation to a close,

“I think it will work in Las Vegas. I’ve always said that whatever of the pro leagues gets to Vegas first would have success.”

He likened the situation of Las Vegas to Portland, where a singular pro franchise was able to draw an uninterrupted market for full control. The big item on the table would be television distribution where he added that it would be quite a feat to launch a regional sports network (RSN) in short order, and that most likely Vegas would need to piggy-back off of an established RSN such as Fox Sports’ Arizona or West (Los Angeles).

Stephen J Sochor

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Away Fans, A Problem Or A Blessing?

How to deal with away fans has been a hot topic in NHL circles recently with the news out of Nashville. The Predators did everything they could to keep Chicago Blackhawks fans out of their building.

For Tuesday’s contest against the Blackhawks, only fans with credit-card billing addresses in Tennessee and the television-viewing area will be permitted to purchase tickets. – Chris Emma, CBS Chicago

The Predators have also done things such as sing God Bless America rather than the National Anthem, to offset to Chicago tradition of yelling during the anthem. They’ve even forced fans to buy two-game packs in an effort to keep Chicago fans away.

Many love the creativity, and applaud the organizations commitment to winning. Others, including the Nashville Tourism Agency aren’t as keen to the idea.

“Any time it’s made hard for anybody to visit, it’s not a good thing,” Butch Spyridon, Nashville Tourism Agency President said. “I can put my Predator hat on and understand what we’re tyring to do, but we need to get to a better way to accomplish a better goal to ensure they have a home-ice advantage — I’d like that, but I’d love visitors a shade more. We have to figure it out.”

Away fans will certainly be a topic of conversation for a team in Las Vegas. As the tourism hub of the world, people from cities of every team will flock to Vegas to cheer on their squad.

How will everyone deal with this phenomenon though? Will we welcome out of town fans? Are the team and the league counting on these seats to be sold by visitors? Will it hinder the home team’s chances to win?

I say bring em on. One of the concerns about the viability of hockey in Vegas is home support. Many believe that if the team struggles, locals will be less likely to attend games. Out of town fans solve this issue for The Creator and the league.

I’m sure once we have a team and we need a big playoff win my tune will change, but at this stage, away fans should be seen as a great advantage few cities can match. Even in the down years, Las Vegas ticket sales won’t be an issue, because people from around the world will suck up all the extra seats.

It’s obviously not the best case scenario, and it’s not something we even see as being a necessity. Here at we firmly believe, if you build it (and Bettman hurries up and makes up his damn mind) they will come. Las Vegans will adore their first real home team and hockey will become the biggest thing since the Bellagio Fountains.

But, if we are wrong, it’s a nice little insurance policy to fall back on.

Mock Expansion Draft – Protected Players – Nashville Predators

The first step to our mock draft is to establish the list of players that will be available for the Las Vegas franchise to draft. To do this, we decided to have a blogger from each team represent their own franchise and select the players that will be protected from the Mock Expansion Draft available player pool. To see the rules which were followed to protect players, hit this link.

Next up, we have the Nashville Predators. The Predators are being represented by Doug Praskach from

Protected Players

Analysis from

Probably the best players that were left off are Barret Jackman, Gabby Bourque, Paul Gaustad, Eric Nystrom, Victor Bartley, Carter Hutton. I could see the team protecting them, but we chose not to for this exercise.

The tough thing is that we have so many good young players that we had to expose a couple of good vets for Vegas to peruse.

The top five defensemen have to be keepers so you Barret Jackman and even Victor Bartley could easily be targeted in the draft.

Kevin Fiala and Steve Moses are in Milwaukee so while the team obviously would want to protect them, they are simply not ready yet. Gabriel Bourque is a fast young player that could help and he is mostly playing on our fourth line. Paul Gaustad will be an UFA at the end of the year but he is a great face off guy and leader.

The entire list of unprotected players that will be available for Team Lane and Team Pothier to select from can be found here.

To see more team explanations just like this one, check out The Sin Bin Mock Expansion Draft Landing Page.

Special thanks again to Doug Praskach from Be sure to follow @PredlinesNSH on Twitter, and heck, throw us (@SinBinVegas) a follow too while you’re at it.

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