How Vegas' hot start could reshape the NHL trade deadline

Instead of just scraping by or being 'respectable' in their inaugural season, the Golden Knights are leading the Pacific Division after 33 games. Will this continue? If it does, how does that change the trade market this spring? AP Photo/John Locher

When the dust settled on the Vegas Golden Knights' expansion draft, general manager George McPhee had set his team up for a very bright future.

The NHL's newest franchise held three of the first 15 picks in the 2017 draft and 10 picks in the first two rounds between 2018 and 2020. McPhee also appeared to be in position to scoop up even more draft picks at the 2017-18 trade deadline, as a number of his expansion picks were upcoming free agents.

We assumed that the Golden Knights' first campaign would be in line with other expansion clubs that struggled out of the gate. By the deadline, it seemed, Vegas would be able to trade proven players to stack even more future assets.

Not so fast.

Vegas has flipped the script by winning 22 of its first 33 games. The Golden Knights sit in first place in the Pacific Division, rank third in the NHL in goals scored per game and beat the mighty Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday.

What does their hot start mean for the short- and long-term future of the Golden Knights? How might it reshape the trade deadline overall? Let's have a look.