August 26, 2021 4 min read

Jonathan Marchessault is a 30-year-old professional hockey player for the National Hockey League. He currently plays for the Vegas Golden Knights in Las Vegas, and has spent time with the Florida Panthers, Tampa Bay Lightning and Columbus Blue Jackets organizations as well in his time as a pro. 

Though Marchessault was originally undrafted, he went on to score an impressive 30 goals with the Panthers during the 2016-17 NHL season, prompting the Vegas Golden Knights to choose him in the 2017 expansion draft.  A wise choice by VGK, as that inaugural team - featuring Marchessault as a top 6 center – went on to the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence.

Starting Out

Born in December 1990, he was originally named Jonathan Audy-Marchessault (he later dropped the “Audy” from his last name while in the NHL).  He had quite an extensive junior hockey career in the QMJHL prior to joining the NHL.  He was drafted when he was 16 years old and played with the Quebec Remparts beginning in 2007.  In 2009-2010 season, Marchessault won the Gaetan Duchesne Trophy for QMJHL’s Best Defensive Player.   In his final season with QMJHL, he was also named alternate captain for his team.

That final season of his junior hockey career, he ranked 6th in the QMJHL in scoring and led the entire league in game-winning goals (11).  He also led the QMJHL in scoring during playoffs and became the first player to lead despite their team not making it to the final round.  Quebec was eliminated during the semi-finals that season.   He went on to be named QMJHL First Team All-Star and won the Bud Light Cup for Quebec’s Player of the Year.

Though he was not drafted to the NHL, he was recommended by ECHL coach Dean Stork, and hence signed his first pro deal with the New York Rangers organization, through their AHL affiliate team, the Connecticut Whale.  In that first season as a professional hockey player, he tied for the team lead in scoring, with 24 goals and 40 assists.

Marchessault's Assault On The AHL

Jonathan Marchessault continued on in the AHL through the Columbus Blue Jackets organization, with whom he signed a 3-year entry level contract.  He had yet another tremendous season playing for the Springfield Falcons, the AHL affiliate for the CBJ.  Once again, he led the team in scoring and was named a First Team All-Star.

Marchessault’s AHL career continued, as he got traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning and found himself playing for their AHL affiliate, Syracuse Crunch. Not surprisingly, he was leading the Crunch with 23 goals and 41 assists, much like the stellar performances he had given on his previous teams.

It was that season he finally got called up to the NHL to sub in for a sick player on the Lightning. During that April 11, 2015 game, Marchessault scored his first NHL goal in a 3-2 shootout victory for Tampa Bay.  He was first star of the game, but was sent back down to the Crunch the next day, where he remained through AHL playoffs.

Once the Syracuse Crunch were eliminated from AHL playoffs, he was called back up to the NHL for Stanley Cup Playoffs, serving as a “black ace” player – there for the purpose of subbing in if anyone on the regular roster suffered an injury.  When a player had an emergency appendectomy, Jonathan Marchessault found himself making his first Stanley Cup Playoffs appearance in a game that Tampa Bay won 4-1, eliminating the Montreal Canadians from playoffs and advancing the Lightning to the next round.

Tampa Bay re-signed Marchessault to a one year, 2 way contract, where he spent most of the 2015-2016 season back with the Syracuse Crunch.  At the end of that season, he left a free agent and signed a 2 year deal with the Florida Panthers that would see him now exclusively playing in the NHL, rather than time in both NHL/AHL organizations.  He had a breakout season, scoring 30 goals and 51 points over 75 games.  He became the first Panther to reach 30 goals since 2009 (David Booth).

Welcome To The Vegas Golden Knights

Yet despite his amazing first year with the Panthers, when it came time for the NHL Expansion Draft that would pave the way for a brand new team in Las Vegas, Nevada, Marchessault found himself “unprotected” by the Panthers, leaving him available as a choice for Vegas to draft.  Essentially, every existing team in the NHL was able to “protect” 7 forwards, 3 defensemen and 1 goaltender so that Vegas could not take them away from the team.   To say Jonathan Marchessault was surprised and disappointed, after the impressive first season he had with the Florida Panthers, would be an understatement.

Still, Marchessault, who was always seemingly underestimated for his small size, rose to the challenge and helped lead the team to the Stanley Cup Final in the very first year of existence.  During this first season, he was also signed by the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-year extension worth $30 million. He put up 75 points in the regular season and 21 more in the postseason. His role solidified within this team, he has continued to produce remarkable stats with VGK over the last 4 seasons, including a hat trick in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs, with season 5 about to begin in one month’s time. 

Jonathan Marchessault may consider his early professional hockey career a rough road between the AHL and NHL, but his staying persistent and always putting forth amazing performances on the ice eventually led to him inking a long-term deal and calling Las Vegas home, with what he hopes is a long career ahead there.  He now has more stability for his family (his wife, 4 children and a dog reside with him in Summerlin, Nevada), which was always one of his biggest life goals off the ice.

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