The Vegas Golden Knights have signed forward Jonathan Marchessault to a six-year contract extension worth $30 million, the team announced Wednesday. The deal is holds a cap hit of $5 million per season and was originally reported by TSN’s Bob McKenzie. Marchessault is currently third on the Golden Knights in goals (15) and leads the team in points (37) – tied for first in assists (22) with forward David Perron.
This season has been an excellent one for the 27-year-old forward who is on pace to score 35 goals and 86 points over the course of an 82-game season, blowing his career-high totals of 30 goals and 51 points in 75 games out of the water. It’s been an impressive two-season span for the undrafted forward who had a breakout season last year with the Florida Panthers before being selected in the Expansion Draft last offseason.
Marchessault is the definition of a late-bloomer journeyman. Despite his 5-foot-9, 174-pound stature, the forward has proven he can be dynamic on offense and unload with a very good shot that is deceptive for opposing netminders. Starting his career with the Connecticut Whale and then the Springfield Falcons in the AHL, Marchessault posted an impressive 46 goals and 131 points in 150 games over two seasons.
He got a two-game stint with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2012-13 though he failed to find the scoreboard in either of those contests. It was another three seasons in the AHL split between Springfield and eventually the Syracuse Crunch before Marchessault found himself in the NHL again. Receiving another two NHL games, this time with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marchessault scored one goal and also got the chance to play in two postseason contests that year as well.
Still, Marchessault found himself playing another 11 games in the AHL the following season before finally making the permanent jump to the NHL in 2015-16. Scoring seven goals and 18 points in 45 games, the numbers simply didn’t jump off the page. Especially considering Marchessault was a 25-year-old rookie who had shown he could produce at the AHL level. It wasn’t until the 2016-17 season when he essentially found lightning in the bottle with the Florida Panthers. If this season is any indication, it’s that his breakout year wasn’t the exception, but rather, the new rule.
Golden Knights Making History
For the Golden Knights, this extension makes all the sense in the world. In the midst of the most impressive Expansion season the NHL has ever seen (and an impressive season by any standards regardless), the NHL’s newest franchise has moved on from the mindset of “new team trying to put a team together” and has is now tasked with locking up their important pieces for the long-term. Marchessault being just one of what should be many players receiving contract extensions in the coming months as any question of the Golden Knights being sellers at the trade deadline in February should now be securely in the past.
Sitting in first place in the Western Conference with a 27-9-2 record, good for 56 points, the Golden Knights only narrowly trail the NHL’s best team in the Tampa Bay Lightning. Their inaugural season has been the talk of the NHL and Marchessault has been a big part of that from the very start. With a roster full of players that were effectively deemed expendable by their former clubs, the Golden Knights are proving that they have a talented group of players in Vegas that can not only hang with the rest of the league but humble them in the process. Fans, media and even other teams’ players are taking notice.