The Vegas Golden Knights are the 2023 Stanley Cup Champions following their 9-3 blowout of the Florida Panthers in five games. The Golden Knights won their franchise's first championship six years after inception, with six of their original "Golden Misfits" still on the roster (Jonathan Marchessault, Reilly Smith, William "Wild Bill" Karlsson, William Carrier, Shea Theodore, and Brayden McNabb).
Misfit Marchessault won the Conn Smythe trophy for playoff MVP. He led the playoffs in goals and was second in points. Marchessault and Smith were two special misfits, who were practically thrown to Vegas by Dale Tallon and the Panthers back during the expansion draft. They have now beaten the team that dumped them six years later to win hockey's ultimate prize.
Brief pause in the celebrations for Vegas. I just want everyone to think back and try to remember who the Golden Knights got from the Leafs in expansion. First one to reveal the name in the comments gets a prize. No cheating!
Marchessault is also the first undrafted player since Wayne Gretzky to win the Conn Smythe in the NHL. And if you account for all the WHA drafts, Marchessault is the first ever undrafted player to win playoff MVP. Talk about beating the odds.
You might have caught me mention the score in the final game of the season, and yah, it wasn't close at any point. Vegas got out to a 2-0 lead after one, extended it to 6-1 after two, and lifted the Stanley Cup after three. Clinical play from one of the most structurally balanced top teams in the league.
The Golden Knights are the first men's professional sports team to win a championship in Vegas – the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA were first last year.
Jack Eichel, the third franchise star from Connor, Auston, and Jack, is a Stanley Cup Champion less than two years after the back surgery that Buffalo rejected him over.
Mark Stone, traded from Ottawa for a second round pick, is a Stanley Cup Champion.
The six "Golden Misfits" who were given away for nothing are Stanley Cup Champions.
Zach Whitecloud of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation is a Stanley Cup Champion.
Michael Amadio, whom Sheldon Keefe just didn't like, is a Stanley Cup Champion.
Alex Pietrangelo, who just cost too much, is a two-time Stanley Cup Champion.
Oh, and Phil Kessel is now a three-time Stanley Cup Champion. That's pretty cool.
18 Canadians from six provinces (BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec) were in the Game 5 starting lineup, including Nic Hague from Kitchener and Reilly Smith from Mimico.
Jonathan Marchessault is the 10th undrafted Conn Smythe Trophy winner in NHL history and first since Wayne Gretzky in 1988. But in reality, he’s really the first true one. The others were WHA players, guys on protected lists, etc.— Michael Russo (@RussoHockey) June 14, 2023
They were not overlooked. He was.
“I’m so happy. I wanted to bring it back here to give us a chance to win it in front of our crowd after six years. I’m so happy to do it in front of our own fans.”-Jonathan Marchessault pic.twitter.com/iVsvOe6Nt2— SinBin.vegas (@SinBinVegas) June 14, 2023
"I'm proud of my heritage. Proud of my culture, and proud of where I come from." 🧡— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) June 14, 2023
Zach Whitecloud becomes the first Indigenous @NHL player from the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation to win the #StanleyCup. pic.twitter.com/uomPJmmmqI
Stanley Cup Order #VegasBorn— Las Vegas: Sports Capital Of The World (@LVPROSPORTS) June 14, 2023
Congratulations to Tom Poraszka, who founded the website General Fanager, the website we were competing with when we launched.— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 14, 2023
His talent was acquired by #VegasBorn in 2017 and his cap insight has been apparent to their success ever since.
One nice thing about Vegas winning: it should amp up pressure on NHL GMs.— Jonathan Willis (@JonathanWillis) June 14, 2023
- You can't just trade for a No. 1 C
- You can't just sign a top D
- You can't just trade for a Selke level gamebreaker like Mark Stone
- We don't have the cap space
Apparently you can, can, can and do.
The Oilers selected first overall in 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2015.— Mike Gould (@miketgould) June 14, 2023
The four players selected second overall in those four drafts have now each won the Stanley Cup.
The after action report for the Panthers made it pretty clear the team didn't have enough gas in the tank or intact bones in their bodies to be competitive by the end. Matthew Tkachuk had a broken sternum, Aaron Ekblad had multiple major injuries, the list is long.
And I believe Miami/South Florida, I don't know what they want to call themselves, is the first city/town/region to lose in the NBA and NHL Finals on back to back nights.
“BOSTON???” Florida Panthers head coach Paul Maurice reveals many of his hockey players were playing severely injured from two months ago against the Boston Bruins (NHL’s best regular season team.) ADVISORY: You may find the injury descriptions graphic. #TimeToHunt @FlaPanthers pic.twitter.com/cyv0Qy4rIA— Omar Moore (@thepopcornreel) June 14, 2023
Various Leafs and Branches
Some final tidbits of news surrounding the Leafs and the NHL to cover.
For Toronto, that means Jake Muzzin, Nick Robertson, Victor Mete, and Rodion Amirov. So, not a problem. Matt Murray was healthy by the end of the season and was off IR, according to CF.
Players who are injured are ineligible to be bought out of their contract. https://t.co/GEW2GlFtYM— CapFriendly (@CapFriendly) June 14, 2023
I don't know about a curse, this shows how hard it is to win a Stanley Cup. It's not grounds to complain and demand special treatment, but to focus on the task, and as one man says, "keep chipping away."
This is crazy:— Nappy (@GretaVanLeafs) June 14, 2023
2019: BOS beat Leafs, lose in finals
2021: MTL beat Leafs, lose in finals
2022: TBL beat Leafs, lose in finals
2023: FLA beat Leafs, lose in finals
The curse is real
He would be silly not to.
"My impression of that situation is that Treliving wants to extend Nylander, but is not interested in doing the kind of song and dance that could last several months."@PierreVLeBrun on how #LeafsForever GM Brad Treliving might approach a William Nylander extension and how his… pic.twitter.com/FGEBYgl1AZ— OverDrive (@OverDrive1050) June 13, 2023
And finally, the details of the Ottawa Senators sale. Didn't get a billion, but still a huge win for Bettman, the league, and Ottawa.
Breaking: Sources say Michael Andlauer will be the new owner of the Ottawa Senators. #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 13, 2023
Sources say deal is worth 950M US. https://t.co/eYrGajWZF5— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 13, 2023
Anna and Olivia Melnyk will retain 10% of the franchise #Sens— Bruce Garrioch (@SunGarrioch) June 13, 2023