Golden Knights: Moneyball Strategy to Replace Marchessault

Steve Marcus/Las Vegas Sun via AP

We are a month away from the start of free agency. Jonathan Marchessault has not as much as heard the phone ring for a contract extension from the Golden Knights. Is it safe to assume Marchessault’s days are numbered as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights? Maybe.

General manager Kelly McCrimmon is exploring a number of paths to make the Golden Knights a Stanley Cup contender for next season. The deck is stacked against McCrimmon and the Golden Knights.

Marchessault, Michael Amadio, William Carrier, Anthony Mantha, Chandler Stephenson, and Alec Martinez are free agents as of July 1, unless extensions are signed.

Brett Howden, Keegan Kolesar, Shea Theodore, Brayden McNabb, Adin Hill, and Logan Thompson are free agents after the 2025-26 season.

Changes are coming.

Do you remember the scene in the movie, “Moneyball.” starring Brad Pitt? Pitt plays Oakland Athletics general manager Billy Beane. After the 2001 MLB season, first baseman Jason Giambi left the Athletics in favor of a seven-year deal with the New York Yankees worth $120 million.

By now, you see where this is going.

It is not like the Golden Knights are cash-poor and can not afford to extend Marchessault. The Golden Knights lack space within the salary cap. The Golden Knights have $5.9 million in salary cap space to work with to try to extend Marchessault and the others listed above next season.

Marchessault had a career-high in goals (42) and his second-best points total (69). His next contract will reflect his career season.

Do you think McCrimmon is second-guessing his decision not to negotiate with Marchessault last offseason? The answer is obvious.

Moneyball Strategy to Replace 69 Points

There is not a free agent that the Golden Knights can sign that would be expected to score 40 goals and log 30 assists. Not for $5.9 million at least.

There could be a path to finding the right free agents to complement the current assets that the Golden Knights have under contract to replace Marchessault’s scoring output.

Be warned, these are far from household names. But here is a list of a few, “Money Ball” free agents the Golden Knights may target who are below 30-years-old and have upside.

Dakota Joshua: Joshua might be a coveted free agent based on his @AFPAnalytics projected next contract of being in the three-year $3.25 million AAV range. The 28-year-old has plenty of grit in his game and can score goals from the tough areas of the ice to get to.

Joshua scored 18 goals in 63 games for the Vancouver Canucks last season and logged eight points in the playoffs. This would be a great player for McCrimmon to take a chance on, as Joshua may be just coming into his prime.

Imagine if Joshua can score 50 points per season on a deal that is worth just over $3 million AAV.

Victor Olofsson: Olofsson and Jack Eichel were teammates on the Buffalo Sabres for three seasons. The 28-year-old has been a 20-goal scorer in three of the last five seasons with the Sabres. @AFPAnalytics projects Olofsson’s next contract to be in the $1 million AAV range.

Olofsson could be in search of a bridge deal next season and Vegas could be the perfect stop for Olofsson as he tries to rebound from his 15 points in 51 games last season.

Kevin Labanc: Labanc and Hertl were teammates with the San Jose Sharks for the last eight seasons. The 28-year-old had a down season with the Sharks last year, scoring just 9 points in 46 games. Labanc’s best seasons came in 2017-18 and 2018-19, when he combined for 96 points across those two seasons.

Like Olofsson, Labanc may be in search of a bridge deal. @AFPAnalytics projects Labanc’s next contract to be in the $893,000 AAV range.

Internal Options

The weight is not entirely on McCrimmon to go outside the organization to potentially replace Marchessault’s scoring output. Paul Cotter, Pavel Dorofeyev, and Brendan Brisson will have the opportunity to take a major step forward next season.

Of those three, Dorofeyev seems to be the most likely player to be a regular fixture in the Golden Knights lineup. Dorofeyev has 33 points (20 goals) in 67 career games.

Next season will be important for Cotter as he needs to find his identity within the Golden Knights. Is he and energy or skill player? His best path to becoming a regular fixture in the lineup will be to replace William Carrier’s role as a fourth-line energy player. This is assuming Carrier moves on from the Golden Knights.

We got a taste of what Brisson can do at the NHL level. Brisson had eight points (two goals) in 15 games. Is Brisson ready to become an everyday NHL player?

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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