The Las Vegas Golden Knights got a steal in Johnathan Marchessault. The former Florida Panther was a dynamo on the ice last season, scoring 30 goals. Now, he takes his talents to Sin City, where he could be the Knights best talent.
On a roster that includes James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Reily Smith, it’s Marchessault that leads the way. Arguably the most offensively-gifted player on the Golden Knights, he will be looked upon to provide the scoring punch the team needs.
Marchessault seemingly came out of nowhere last season to lead the Panthers scoring attack. After a 2015-16 season which saw him score only 7 goals in 45 games played with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Marchessault tallied 30 goals in 72 games during the 2016-17 campaign with the Panthers.
Call it a change of scenery, but Marchessault looked a lot more comfortable with the Panthers, as he was given a top-six role rather quickly due to injuries on the roster. He took full advantage of the opportunity, becoming one of the team’s most reliable players.
Now situated on the expansion Las Vegas team, Marchessault isn’t only a top-six player, he might be the best on the entire roster. With Flordia linemate, Reily Smith, coming to Vegas with him, Marchessault will have a familiar face to rely on. He’s more than capable of producing another 30 goal season, regardless of who Vegas pairs him with.
It was the Flordia Panthers who left Marchessault exposed during the NHL Expansion Draft. Las Vegas took full advantage of the team’s blunder by selecting him. The decision could come back to haunt the Panthers, as Marchessault is just now reaching the prime of his career at 26 years of age.
After going undrafted in 2011, Marchessault has had to fight and claw to get himself a top spot on a team’s roster. He was able to find that in Florida last season. Now, he will look to find similar success with the Las Vegas Golden Knights. Whose to say he won’t reach 40 goals this season?
When we look back at the Las Vegas Golden Knights draft, it could very well be Johnathan Marchessault who proves to be the team’s best pick. He’s out to prove that the Panthers made a monumental mistake by letting him go. And above all else, show the world that he’s one of the league’s best talents.