It was certainly a shock for Golden Knights fans when Vegas’ front office announced in July that they had traded original misfit Reilly Smith to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Clearly, the decision was necessary since Vegas needed to lock up Ivan Barbashev to a lengthy deal. The bottom line was the Golden Knights couldn’t financially fit both wingers (and Adin Hill) on their roster, so Smith was sacrificed. As much as it was a bummer for fans in Las Vegas, it was easier to take with every sip of suds out of their new 2023 Stanley Cup Champions pint glass. With Smith removed, the Golden Knights are likely done trading away the remaining Original Misfits. Or are they?
There are no negotiations that have been done. I know that sometimes the Golden Knights like to take their time with that. We will see what it will give. –Jonathan Marchessault to TVA Sports
For some reason, Jonathan Marchessault’s comment earlier this month created mass panic inside the walls of several NHL outlets. The current Conn Smyth keeper expressed his feelings with TVA Sports on his relationship with coach Bruce Cassidy and the lack of contract extension talks with Vegas’ FO. However, Marchessault stated it himself: ” the Golden Knights like to take their time with that.” That doesn’t sound like a winger preparing to list his house on the market next summer.
We’re talking about Jonathan Marchessault, if there were real problems, we would’ve known. He’s always been honest, emotional, and expressive. This isn’t a shot at the rest of the Golden Knights but #81 has more personality in his compact frame than half of the locker room combined. That’s why he’s an overwhelming fan favorite. Marchessault’s comments were a response to a question about his expiring contract, of course, he’s going to be forthcoming. An extension is obviously on his and his agent’s mind, but the Stanley Cup champ never suggested it was a concern. Just business.
We have built something exceptional. But the life of a hockey player is never safe. That’s what keeps us humble. –Marchessault to TVA Sports
Is it possible the 33-year-old and the front office are unable to come to an extension agreement? Of course. One of the reasons why the Golden Knights are the Stanley Cup champions is the organization’s ability to ignore emotions and move fan favorites for key parts. It worked. So yes, it’s plausible Vegas passes on Marchessault’s request. As of right now, he’s under contract for 2023-24 and will be expected to drive offense like he has throughout his entire contract. Despite the expiring contract, it makes absolutely no sense for the Golden Knights to move him now.
The Hockey News volunteered a scenario that would place the Golden Knights in a position to wheel and deal at next season’s trade deadline. Players on expiring deals might be targeted, at which point Marchessault would be very attractive to any contender. However, the club should never be in that dire situation. The Golden Knights are bound to be in the playoff hunt and won’t be sellers at the deadline based solely on their roster makeup. If the reigning champs are somehow out of a postseason position by mid-March, Marchessault won’t be the only name on the block.
Another reason VGK fans shouldn’t worry about Marchessault being dealt is his age and the crop of UFAs available next July. Auston Matthews, William Nylander, and Mark Scheifele lead the list of offensive weapons. Marchessault will be desired but not a priority for most teams, except Vegas. Plus, he would likely take a “buy-in” type contract in order to stay in Las Vegas where his children have spent most of their lives. Not to mention Cassidy and the front office know exactly what they have with Marchessault. They know while he can be an honest pain in the ass he’s also extremely determined, motivated but most of all… clutch. You can’t pay enough for important postseason goals like #81 has provided since 2018.
The Conn Smythe winner isn’t going anywhere.