This wasn’t the plan. George McPhee was supposed to be dangling his unrestricted free agents to teams looking to make a run at the Stanley Cup, so Vegas could make a run at the 2021 Cup.
But the Golden Knights are good and are speeding up their plans of winning a title.
Now McPhee looks like he is believer in his team’s chances to win the Stanley Cup now and in 2021, as the Golden Knights have locked up Jonathan Marchessault to a six year, $30 million deal.
Along with James Neal, David Perron and Luca Sbisa, Marchessault was one of the big four free agents for the Golden Knights. While he could still trade the other three for future assets, the re-signing of Marchessault indicates McPhee is not going to blow up this magical ride at the trade deadline.
Signing Marchessault for $5 million a year might be McPhee’s best move as Vegas’ general manager.
After posting 30 goals and 21 assists in Florida last year, Marchessault has been even better in Vegas. His 15 goals and 22 assists have helped the Golden Knights roll out one of the best lines in hockey in Marchessault, William Karlsson and Reilly Smith.
And Marchessault is 27 years old; he is just now entering his prime.
All of that comes for just $5 million a season. Marchessault, had he opted to become a free agent after this season, likely could have commanded much more than that.
His 88 points over the last two seasons rank him 50th best in the league. But his $5 million salary would place him outside the NHL’s top 150 plaid players this season.
Throughout the expansion draft process, McPhee always said he would need to find his superstars in the entry drafts. He didn’t expect to find a stud in the expansion draft.
But now he has Marchessault, who could be the Golden Knights best player for the next six seasons.
Even with Marchessault jumping from $750,000 to $5 million in salary, the Golden Knights are still projected to have over $35 million in cap space after this season.
Tyler Bischoff hosts Coaches Corner on AM 720 KDWN Monday through Friday at 6:00 pm.