What a new Seattle franchise would mean for the Golden Knights
The Seattle Swordfish? Sasquatch? Metropolitans? Spacemen? Software Engineers? Drizzles? Could mean more than just another division rival.
When Las Vegas was first officially recognized as the NHL's newest landing spot for a franchise, it was assumed, but not officially expressed, that the yet-to-be-named Vegas franchise was not the last. There was another team coming.
And it was also assumed that that team would be in Seattle. It made sense with the conferences and Quebec City could remain the first relocation spot for a team in the Eastern Conference. Now, with the renovation of KeyArena officially approved, it looks like that Seattle team might become a reality, even as the NHL continues to officially defer a decision on Seattle.
But everyone knows it’s coming.
With Washington being in the Pacific Time Zone, it makes sense for the team to join the Pacific division, which means somebody will have to move out. It won't be the Knights, who are still looking for firm ground in the NHL. The team that makes the most sense are the Arizona Coyotes, an unfortunate thing for their fans. Because moving divisions may also entail moving to a city better situated for the Central division — somewhere like Houston.
That means that Vegas could lose their closest rival. At least geographically. The Coyotes rivalry was supposed to be intense, as the Golden Knights were the only other team in the desert. But with the Knights being much better than expected, Vegas has repeatedly outclassed Arizona this season.
But another expansion team could mean a sister team or a better rival for the Golden Knights, especially with the team joining the same division. The last time that happened was when the Columbus Blue Jackets joined the Nashville Predators in the Central.
I don't know if the Golden Knights will eventually trade a franchise center in exchange for a franchise defenseman, but it could happen.
Besides a new relationship, the Seattle team means a few other things for the Golden Knights. The most important of them — the expansion draft. It remains to be seen how the Golden Knights roster will look when the Seattle Hockey Seahawks select their team, so the protection list is not ready yet (but you best believe Shea Theodore and Alex Tuch ought to be locked up).
Seattle will also be a proving ground of whether all expansion teams are now built to succeed, or if the Golden Knights are the exception.
And lastly, Seattle represents a chance to see a new team name and logo. There are some bad possibilities. Anything involving fish that isn't the Swordfish, for example. But there are some excellent possibilities as well.
Who doesn't want a team named the Sasquatch, especially to see what color combinations the team comes up to fit that name? The Swordfish represent a chance to bust out blue and pink jerseys that could become popular. And if the Seattle franchise does go with a lesser name, at least the Golden Knights will never see heat for theirs again.