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7 NHL coaches pick Vegas Golden Knights to reach Stanley Cup Final in midseason poll

Almost a quarter of NHL coaches have hopped aboard the Vegas bandwagon.

Vegas Golden Knights v Carolina Hurricanes Photo by Gregg Forwerck/NHLI via Getty Images

Nearly one quarter of NHL head coaches predicted the Vegas Golden Knights to reach the Stanley Cup Final in a midseason poll conducted by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. It’s the latest example of the hockey world’s growing realization that the expansion team is the real deal and won’t be an easy out in the playoffs.

Seven of the 31 NHL head coaches polled by McKenzie picked the Golden Knights to win the Western Conference. One of them even picked the team to win the Stanley Cup in its first season, which would be completely unprecedented in the history of professional sports.

The Lightning were the most popular team in the poll, with 22 coaches picking them to win the Eastern Conference and 19 picking them to win the Stanley Cup. The Predators were the most popular Western Conference pick with 17 votes, following by the Golden Knights (seven votes), Jets (six votes) and Stars (two votes).

Even in the context of the Golden Knights’ remarkable season, it’s incredible to see how many NHL head coaches buy into them as a Cup contender. The team is first in the conference with a 32-11-4 record, but it’s still a group that’s lacking in star power and thrives mostly on strong coaching and depth.

However, none of that has stopped Vegas from rolling through the competition during the first half of the season, and it’s clear the team left a real impression on some of its opponents. The Golden Knights are second in goals per game, seventh in goals allowed per game, and have the league’s best home record (19-2-2). Only four of the 27 teams they’ve faced have successfully avoided losing to them.

It’s gotten to the point where Las Vegas sports books are losing tons of money on the team because local fans keep betting and winning on its games. According to a recent report from ESPN, the oddsmakers could lose millions if the Golden Knights manage to win the Stanley Cup.

Seven NHL coaches are already sold on the team reaching the Stanley Cup Final, though, and it seems like the hype will only grow from here if the team keeps winning. The Golden Knights somehow have a bandwagon in their first season of existence.