Jonathan Marchessault was allowed to spend at least two nights in Cabo San Lucas in Mexico.
The Golden Knights left wing began a well-deserved vacation when he was added to All-Star Weekend at the T-Mobile Arena on Wednesday. His break seemed over. Instead, he just cut it short.
Marchessault waited until Friday to get back to Las Vegas and still made it home in time to finish eighth in the accuracy challenge at the skill contest. In between, he had time to reflect on his career and the journey from undrafted forward to All-Star.
“No one would have thought I’d made a professional career,” Marchessault said. “I’m not even thinking about NHL and an All-Star Game. I think it was just the icing on the cake.”
Marchessault’s path to becoming an All-Star seems a lot less improbable if you only consider the tenure of his knights.
He is one of the most consistent players in the team’s history, having been a Florida roster. He is the Knights’ all-time leader in games played (321), goals (112), assists (145) and points (257).
Marchessault, 31, has maintained that production this season. He is second on the team in points (32) and first in goals (20). He already has the fifth season of 20 goals in his career after just 41 games.
“I thought he would be here from the start,” defender Alex Pietrangelo said. “He’s had such a good year. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me that he was mentioned.”
Marchessault’s selection seems a lot more unlikely when one zooms out.
It’s not just that he missed the “Last Men In” vote in 2019 and this year. It’s that he was almost not in the NHL at all.
He was an unfinished 5-foot-9-inch forward who spent parts of six seasons in the American Hockey League. He didn’t start his first full NHL season until he was 26.
Marchessault scored 30 goals in the 2016-17 season for the Panthers and caught the attention of the Knights.
“Ondrafted, had to work for everything, played a long time in the minors to get to this level,” said coach Pete DeBoer. “When I heard he got the call to officially come into the game, I was really excited for him.”
Marchessault is soaked by the moment. He reconnected with former Florida teammate Jonathan Huberdeau during the warm-ups and brought his kids to the home bench. He said it was one of the main reasons he came back to let his kids experience the event.
Knight Captain Mark Stone said it was fitting that Marchessault be allowed to participate in such a special moment in Las Vegas hockey history. He helped lay the foundation for the franchise’s success over its five seasons.
It made sense that he was there for one of T-Mobile Arena’s big events.
“It’s something that makes me super proud,” Marchessault said. “Representing the Golden Knights, it was a real treat and an honor for my professional life.”
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