In a spectacular turn of events, Jonathan Marchessault, a key member of the Vegas Golden Knights, has been awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the 2023 NHL playoff MVP. This makes Marchessault the 10th undrafted player in NHL history to receive the prestigious award, and the first since Wayne Gretzky in 1988.
Marchessault’s playoff performance was nothing short of remarkable. After a slow start with only two assists in the first seven games, Marchessault began a scoring spree that saw him tied for the playoff lead in goals (13), and second in points with 25, finishing just behind teammate Jack Eichel. Over the course of the final 15 games, Marchessault found the back of the net 13 times and assisted on 10 more goals.
His exceptional performance was especially evident in the Stanley Cup Final against the Florida Panthers, where he notched four goals and four assists. This high-stakes series held personal significance for Marchessault, as he faced off against his former team, the Panthers, who left him unprotected in the 2017 expansion draft. Marchessault played for the Panthers during the 2016-17 season, contributing 51 points in 75 games.
Marchessault’s journey to the Conn Smythe Trophy is a tale of resilience and determination. Undrafted out of junior hockey, he was picked up by the Golden Knights in the expansion draft after being exposed by the Panthers. Six years later, he has had his sweet revenge with a Conn Smythe Trophy to his name and an exceptional performance throughout the playoffs.
Speaking after Game 5 against the Panthers, Marchessault shared his joy at the Knights’ victory: “I’ve never had so much fun in my life,” he said, reflecting on his journey to this historic night in Vegas.
Marchessault’s success story is a reminder of the unpredictable and thrilling nature of hockey. From being a member of the “misfits” left unprotected in the expansion draft to winning the Conn Smythe Trophy, his trajectory serves as an inspiration for undrafted players and a testament to the belief that with hard work and determination, anything is possible.