The Vegas Golden Knights weren’t procuring for a face. They respect been procuring for 23 faces, 23 individuals of a brand new team in a brand new city, ready to welcome new followers to the Vegas Golden Knights and the NHL.
They purchased one anyway.
When the Golden Knights chosen Marc-Andre Fleury from the Pittsburgh Penguins within the 2017 NHL Growth Draft, the goalie who would attain to convey and spur on Vegas in its first season and past, they chanced on a player who was equally important for the followers and the avid gamers to latch onto.
The ask is whether the Seattle Kraken, within the 2021 NHL Growth Draft equipped by Upper Deck on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; ESPN2, SN1, SN NOW), can replicate that.
“It in actuality all is dependent upon who’s available and who we are able to purchase, nonetheless we undoubtedly think there is going to be some upright avid gamers available,” Kraken no longer new supervisor Ron Francis acknowledged Saturday. “With any luck after they fetch chosen right here, we are able to fetch them into city and hasten out on the stage and they can become the early faces of our Seattle Kraken lineup.”
There are alternatives for the Kraken. With the precise lists for NHL groups moreover the Golden Knights being published Sunday, there are names that jump out as ability Fleury-devour faces.
It starts with Carey Ticket, the goalie for the Montreal Canadiens. Ticket is a native of Anahim Lake, British Columbia who would slot perfectly into the Fleury characteristic after serving to the Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Splendid, where they lost in five video games to the Tampa Bay Lightning.
He is now no longer the one one. There is St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko, Calgary Flames captain Ticket Giordano, Philadelphia Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk and Contemporary Jersey Devils defenseman P.K. Subban, among others.
“With COVID and the flat [NHL salary] cap for the following then all yet again decades, it could well perchance also merely now no longer be so arduous for Seattle to fetch that guy,” acknowledged Deryk Engelland, the Las Vegas resident who was signed as a free agent by the Golden Knights and counted because the Flames’ purchase within the expansion draft.
“There is reasonably a pair of groups which are devoted on the cap ceiling and [who have] guys to place, so I salvage they are going to be ready to position collectively a team that competes. And that is the reason what you wish.”
Whether or now no longer Vegas and no longer new supervisor George McPhee respect been in search of a face, they chanced on one in Fleury, a player whose humble demeanor, expertise and chops — he had, finally, gained the Stanley Cup Three times — blended to develop precise into a highly effective motivator for a band of misfits, and on the identical time he was willing to attain limitless interviews, attain out to the neighborhood, now no longer frequently ever tiring, now no longer frequently ever asserting no.
It was a highly effective combination.
“We weren’t essentially procuring for a face of the franchise,” McPhee acknowledged. “We felt the face of the franchise desires to be our logo. And we respect been very team centric. We did no longer name a captain. We tried to respect 23 captains. We handled each person the identical. There wasn’t a hierarchy.
“What we respect been attempting to fetch was some management within the avid gamers we respect been purchasing, and Marc-Andre undoubtedly had that and hundreds expertise and hundreds game left. It wasn’t by carry out, nonetheless he grew to become the face of the franchise organically.”
It helped that Fleury was the most recognizable name, most recognizable face, playing a top rate predicament, one who McPhee called the most important in creating a team from scratch. He was known in programs that others who grew to become stars on that team, teach William Karlsson or Jonathan Marchessault, could well perchance also merely now no longer respect.
“He was the one star that folks had an thought about then,” acknowledged worn Golden Knights forward Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, now playing for the Colorado Avalanche. “It was ‘Flower.’ Everyone else, I mean, it is devour of us had no clue who we respect been.”
There is no longer any ask that the veneration, even now, even from avid gamers no longer with the organization, is proper and tangible. Gamers from the 2017-18 Golden Knights, the inaugural team that made it to the Stanley Cup Splendid earlier than losing to the Washington Capitals in five video games, focus on Fleury in shapely phrases, the admiration thick for what he did on the ice and off the ice.
He characteristic the tone and took the warmth.
“From a advertising standpoint, I salvage they leaned on him most of the first twelve months,” acknowledged defenseman Nate Schmidt, now with the Vancouver Canucks. “And it roughly takes the stress off of reasonably a pair of alternative guys, which is essentially in actuality nice. Loads much less stress, loads much less stress on us to compose because he’s the fellow, nonetheless he’s roughly proof against these issues, which is spectacular, the truth is.”
Fleury, remember that, had appropriate lost his job with the Penguins to Matt Murray and was left unprotected, allowed to be chosen by the Golden Knights. And yet, Bellemare acknowledged, he never complained, repeatedly worked the hardest, repeatedly smiled, serving to blueprint a team tradition that endures.
“He is your giant name,” Bellemare acknowledged. “You attain precise into a label-new team so all americans can develop precise into a giant name, and it could well perchance also poke in actuality speedily that you just switch out with guys that think they’re better than they are. And attempt to be careful.
“Nonetheless the element with Flower is that he was our high player, our finest giant name and he was the most humble guy also. So then whoever comes 2nd or third or fourth and even 19th, no matter your name is, he can’t attain and be cocky.”
That made Fleury the face for the followers and his teammates, the backbone and soul of a team that completed extra than any individual thought they could also, and that will be sophisticated for the Kraken to reproduction. Nonetheless there could be a blueprint, and avid gamers who would match nicely into the mildew that Fleury filled for Vegas.
“You undoubtedly gaze at what they did due to the success they had, nonetheless as we’ve identified a immense number of times right here goes to be reasonably a pair of,” Francis acknowledged.
Or perchance now no longer.
“I salvage they can sigh loads from what we did, and need to peaceful,” McPhee acknowledged. “And I attain imagine the pandemic goes to wait on them loads. There are GMs who respect been by this as soon as on the opposite aspect. They’d perchance merely be a minute little bit of extra shrewd.
“On the opposite hand, the flat cap goes to be arduous on some groups and they are going to be procuring for the kind out. It be one thing that Seattle could well perchance also sigh excellent thing about. We seek recordsdata from that Seattle goes to attain very, very nicely and respect a in actuality upright, aggressive team, devoted off the bat.”