Sami Vatanen

The Golden Knights were supposed to be competitive, not mounting a Stanley Cup run

The Golden Knights were supposed to be competitive, not mounting a Stanley Cup run

Nate Schmidt wondered what he was getting thrown into when the Vegas Golden Knights selected him off the Washington Capitals’ roster in the NHL expansion draft last June. He knew one other player, forward Erik Haula, a former teammate at the University of Minnesota, and knew goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury through shaking Fleury’s hand when the Pittsburgh Penguins eliminated the Capitals from the Stanley Cup playoffs. Vegas chose players Schmidt respected, but he wasn’t sure how effectively they’d mesh.

“You know what we had with each guy. You didn’t know what it was going to be like to bring everybody together, in the room,” said Schmidt, an offensively gifted defenseman with a...

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