It’s hard to picture Vegas Golden Knights star Jonathan Marchessault on any other team than the one he plays for now — but prior to the 2017 Expansion Draft, he was a member of the team he is now very likely to see in the Stanley Cup Final next week.
The Florida Panthers exposed Marchessault in the draft ahead of Vegas’ first year in the NHL, resulting in him becoming a Golden Knight.
“You know what? I thought they were going to protect me,” the 32-year-old admitted on Thursday, according to ESPN’s Greg Wyshynski. “I was surprised of the decision. But I mean, that’s just the way she goes sometimes. Keeps you honest.”
It was a puzzling decision, as Marchessault was coming off a 30-goal season in just his second full NHL campaign. Today, he’s scored 348 points in 432 games with Vegas.
At the time, he got the last laugh, as the 2018 Vegas Golden Knights marched all the way to the Stanley Cup Final in their first year of existence, losing to Alex Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals in five games.
But assuming the Golden Knights don’t blow a 3-0 series lead to the Dallas Stars in the Western Conference Final, he’ll get another chance to dish out revenge against his former team, with a Stanley Cup on the line.
“It’s a long time ago. It’s water under the bridge,” Marchessault continued. “I was disappointed at the time but that’s six years ago now, so it doesn’t bother me anymore. I know it’s my old team, but good for them. I don’t worry too much about them anymore. I worry about our team.”
The Vegas standout has said he’s moved on, but it’s impossible not to think he’ll have that chip on his shoulder if the Golden Knights and Panthers do meet in the 2023 Stanley Cup Final.
It’s just another storyline in what would be an absolutely electric matchup between Vegas and Florida.
“They’re kind of a similar team to what we had here in the first year. Kind of this Cinderella story,” Golden Knights’ Jonathan Marchessault said. “They worked their way there, and hard work pays off.”