In the 2021-22 Player Review series, we will evaluate the 2021-22 performances of each key member of the Golden Knights. Players were evaluated based on overall performance in the regular season with regard to pre-season expectations and how that player performed in his particular role.
Only six members of the inaugural Vegas Golden Knights squad remain on the roster going into the 2022 offseason. William Carrier, William Karlsson, Jonathan Marchessault, Brayden McNabb, Reilly Smith and Shea Theodore are all still going strong in Sin City, but with the Golden Knights in a cap crunch, one can reasonably assume the number of O.G. Golden Misfits will continue to dwindle — perhaps sooner than later.
But if there’s one player from the 2017-18 team most deserving of being a lifetime member of the Golden Knights, it would have to be Jonathan Marchessault, who continues to perform at a high level even at 31 years old.
Season in review
Marchessault’s point totals have dropped every year since averaging nearly a point per game in his first season with the Golden Knights. Of course, a lot of this is due to the pair of COVID-19-shortened seasons the NHL dealt with the last couple years, but it’s understandable why the raw scoring numbers may have left fans slightly concerned going into the season.
Well, the 2021-22 season is in the rearview, and anyone who entered the season with any worries about Marchessault can exhale. He was fantastic for the Golden Knights all year long, tying his career high in goals and putting together his best statistical season since the magical 2017-18 voyage.
For the first time since the 2018-19 season, Marchessault led the Golden Knights in both points (66) and goals (30). He also led the pack in power play production, finishing the season with 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) on the man advantage.
A deeper dive into the fancy stats only confirms Marchessault’s strong play throughout the season. He consistently drove play into the offensive zone, ranking second on the team (minimum 200 minutes) with a 56.42 Corsi For percentage at 5-on-5. And when in enemy territory, Marchessault excelled at generating quality scoring chances, leading all Golden Knights skaters with 24 primary assists and averaging 1.39 shot assists per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play (not to mention 2.94 one-timer assists per 60).
All in all, Marchessault was an offensive dynamo this season. He’s still no ace defensively, and he’ll probably never see consistent ice time on the penalty kill, but that’s not the role he’s meant to play. He’s a vital point producer, and that’s where his focus should lie.
Marchessault has two more years remaining on his contract with an annual cap hit of $5 million. Yes, the Golden Knights may be in cap hell, but it’s hard to imagine them moving on from Marchessault while he’s still producing at a high level, and at such a modest number. His contract might be one of the best in the NHL (at least from a team perspective) and he’s become one of the faces of franchise since the team’s inception.
Barring an insane turn of events, Marchessault will be a Golden Knight next season, and he should probably be a Golden Knight for the rest of his career. He’s more than earned it.
Knights On Ice grade: A
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All statistics courtesy of Natural Stat Trick, All Three Zones and NHL.com.