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Comparing Jonathan Marchessault’s new deal to those across the NHL

In case you missed it, Jonathan Marchessault is a rich man. The Vegas Golden Knights signed him to a six-year extension worth $30 million.

Marchessault has been nothing short of spectacular for the Golden Knights since being selected in the expansion draft (as part of a strange agreement with Florida which saw the team also get highly talented forward Reilly Smith for a fourth-round selection).

The 27-year-old Quebec native has 16 goals and 40 points in 38 games this season, a fantastic encore following his coming out party last season where he scored 30 goals and 21 assists for the Panthers.

Back in October I wrote an article comparing Golden Knights legend Vadim Shipachyov’s contract to those around the league in hopes of determining what we should reasonably have expected from him this season.

Sadly, three games, a goal, a bizarre few weeks, a contract termination and  a retirement were not on my projections.

So, I turn my attention to Marchessault.

We don’t need to project Marchessault. We have a pretty good idea as to what he is as a player now. However what I found myself wondering is what does $5 million get you today in the NHL? How does Marchessault stack up against forwards with similar cap hits? Is he a value signing or have the Golden Knights overpaid?

To figure that out we first have to compile a list of forwards who have a similar cap hit. Going forward, Marchessault will be making $5 million against the cap, so that’s a good place to start. Yes, his new contract won’t kick in until next year but I don’t have a crystal ball so we’ll compare his production this year versus the $5 million players from this season.

The list of forwards making that much this season includes Derick Brassard, James Neal, Tyler Johnson, Reilly Smith, and Valtteri Filppula.

But, that’s not enough to get a real sample size. To get as many names and make the list as comprehensive as possible we’re going to expand the pool by also including forwards making 4.875M to 5.125M

Welcome Marian Gaborik, Alexander Wennberg, Alex Galchenyuk, and Brayden Schenn to the list of comparables. Also Mike Hoffman at $5.1875 million seems like a good comparable to Marchessault, both in terms of contract and production.

Here’s a look at the production from each of our 10 comparables and where Marchessault stacks up against them.

(Accurate as of before start of play on Jan. 8)

How does Jonathan Marchessault stack up to those making as much as him?

PLAYER (Team) Games Goals Assists Points CF%
J. Marchessault (VGK) 38 16 24 40 55.9
D. Brassard (OTT) 40 11 16 27 53.5
J. Neal (VGK) 41 18 11 29 51.2
T. Johnson (TBL) 41 13 18 31 51
R. Smith (VGK) 41 11 24 35 54.5
V. Filppula (PHI) 42 9 8 17 45.6
M. Gaborik (LAK) 20 7 6 13 51
A. Wennberg (CBJ) 30 4 12 16 52.7
A. Galchenyuk (MTL) 42 10 13 23 48
B. Schenn (STL) 45 17 26 43 53.1
M. Hoffman (OTT) 40 10 18 28 51.6

Safe to say it wasn’t an overpay.

Marchessault has outperformed every player within the parameters set out besides Schenn in terms of point production. With the obvious addendum that seven fewer games, Marchessault sits three points behind Schenn.

His 16 goals sits third in the group behind Schenn and teammate James Neal and he is on pace for his second consecutive 30-goal season. His shooting percentage of 11.9 is reasonable, though about 2.5-percent higher than the league average. Still, it is sustainable. Neal has a career shooting percentage of 12.2, for example.

Good shooters, which Marchessault is, tend to shoot above the NHL average.

I added in Corsi-For percentage, mostly out of my own curiosity. Marchessault is the best possession player (according to that specific metric) in the bunch.

In the context of the league Marchessault presently sits 27th in the NHL in points with names like Jonathan Huberdeau ($5.9M), Patrick Kane ($10.5M), and Tyler Seguin ($5.75M).

He is 38th in goals with Alexander Radulov ($6.25M), Gabriel Landeskog ($5.57M), Brendan Gallagher ($3.75M), and Evander Kane ($5.25M). And he is 35th in assists with Vladimir Tarasenko ($7.50M) and Aleksander Barkov ($5.9M).

Whether you were a true believer or skeptic of the late-blooming Marchessault entering the season, based on what we’ve seen here it is reasonable to say that Marchessault is at least a player deserving of the $5 million AAV he signed with the Golden Knights. You could even make the argument that he is going to be underpaid the moment the extension kicks in. The contract is most assuredly a win for the Golden Knights, and should provide the team with good return on investment well into the future.

Now… about that possible James Neal extension.