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Gawlik: Marchessault’s Path for Contract Extension



Jonathan Marchessault St. Patrick's Day jerseys (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)
Jonathan Marchessault in the VGK St. Patrick's Day warm-up jersey. Photo credit, VGK Twitter.

It has been nearly two weeks since Vegas Golden Knights forward Jonathan Marchessault appeared on TVA Sports. Marchessault hit on several topics including his relationship with coach Bruce Cassidy and his contract situation.

“It hasn’t always been the rainbow and the good weather between us. We got into each other a couple of times, on the bench, during games, during the playoffs.” Marchessault told TVA Sports. This is a comment not worth reading a whole lot into, players and coaches always get into it at some point throughout the season.

“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.”

Marchessault to TVA Sports when asked about his contract situation

The contract comment was a bit interesting.

Marchessault is in the final season of his six-year, $30 million contract. The Conn Smythe winner will turn 33 in December. Marchessault has scored 419 points in his six seasons as a Golden Knight.

Will Marchessault be a Golden Knight in 2024-25? Here are three possibilities and the likelihood of each.

Marchessault signs an extension in the next six months: Six months from writing this article takes us to roughly two weeks before next season’s trade deadline. Marchessault said the team likes to take their time with offering extensions. Do not expect an extension announcement any time soon. It is not a direct indicator of Marchessault leaving Vegas if he does not have an extension in place after the trade deadline passes.

It is highly unlikely an extension is agreed upon within the next six months.

Marchessault is traded before the trade deadline: This will largely depend on how the Golden Knights are doing come February. If the team has health issues like in season five and struggles to stay in the playoff hunt, there is a reasonable chance Marchessault gets traded. Teams would pay a premium to rent Marchessault for a playoff run.

DraftKings has the Golden Knights at -600 to make the playoffs. There is little to no chance Marchessault gets traded during the 2023-24 season.

Marchessault signs an extension before the start of free agency: General manager Kelly McCrimmon extended 34-year-old Alec Martinez in 2021 days before free agency started. However, McCrimmon elected to trade 32-year-old Reilly Smith in favor of extending 27-year-old Ivan Barbashev not long after the team’s Stanley Cup victory.

Marchessault can easily command a three-year deal worth $20 million in the open market. More possibly, if he plays his cards right.

The Golden Knights have a strong core in place through the 2027-28 season. McCrimmon will make a play to keep Marchessault in Vegas. Is McCrimmon willing to offer up to $7 million per season? Is Marchessault willing to take a Vegas-friendly deal to stay with the Golden Knights in the $5 million to $6 million per-season range?

If Marchessault hits the open market, he is as good as gone. $6 million per season feels like the magic number to get a deal done.

Injuries could determine if Marchessault stays in Vegas: It is unlikely that the Golden Knights would have traded for Barbashev if it was not for Mark Stone’s injury. Stone’s $9.5 million cap hit being off the books for four months allowed McCrimmon to improve the roster. Stone’s back issues could have ultimately been what drove Smith out of Vegas.

If the Golden Knights have a relatively healthy season, McCrimmon will not be able to do much shopping at the trade deadline.

If Jack Eichel, Mark Stone, William Karlsson, Alex Pietrangelo, Martinez, or Shea Theodore experience a long-term injury. The door opens for McCrimmon to trade for someone that could potentially replace Marchessault.

It would be crazy for the Golden Knights to trade or not extend the Conn Smythe winner. Almost as crazy as it was trading a Vezina winner for next to nothing. But not as crazy as it was firing a recent Jack Adams winner.