Golden Knights goalie Marc-Andre Fleury played 12 years alongside future Hall of Famer Sidney Crosby. Even so, by his own admission, he isn’t quite sure how to be the face of a franchise.
But not even 24 hours after being selected in Wednesday night’s expansion draft, Fleury seemed quite comfortable in his new role.
The three-time Stanley Cup champion and a handful of newly-minted teammates met with the media at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday morning — roughly 14 hours after the roster was finalized — to address their inaugural season.
“(We want to) improve all year long. As quickly as possible,” Fleury said. “I think our organization did a good job picking up good guys … Just going to set the standard right away. We’re going to go after it. Try and get points. Try and get wins right away.”
Fleury, defensmen Jason Garrison, Deryk Engelland and Brayden McNabb, and center Reid Duke were all smiles as they donned Knights uniforms and caps.
They’ll congregate for the first time with the rest of their teammates at minicamp next Tuesday, and Garrison said he wants to start establishing a winning culture immediately.
“Once it’s kind of set in stone, who’s on the team, you want to try and get together as much as you can and establish a friendship and a bond that leads onto the ice,” Garrison said. “It’s a different situation for everybody in here to come into a team where there is no team.”
Garrison joked about being drafted at age 32 and said it “could be it for me.”
Duke is just getting started at 21 and was ecstatic to see the rest of the roster unveiled on Wednesday night.
“It’s really a dream come true. You can’t even imagine anything like this,” said Duke, who was the Golden Knights first signee after agreeing to a three-year deal in March. “Seeing the city, how excited they are about everything. It’s kind of nice seeing everything unfold in person.”
Duke said he’s going to lean on the veterans and highlighted the importance off the offseason.
“That’ll be a huge aspect of the team, the team-building component,” Duke said. “These guys are pros. They’ve all been there before with trades and joining new teams and stuff like that. When you’re playing hockey, it really doesn’t matter … It’ll be nice to meet everybody and nice to kind of get everything started with everyone.”
Contact Sam Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-380-2913. Follow @BySamGordon on Twitter.