Golden Knights sign Marchessault to $30 million, 6-year deal

Los Angeles Kings goalie Jonathan Quick, right, gives up a goal to Vegas Golden Knights center Jonathan Marchessault during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, Dec. 28, 2017, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Mark J. Terrill

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The Vegas Golden Knights signed scoring leader Jonathan Marchessault to a $30 million, six-year contract extension Wednesday, the clearest sign yet that the first-year, first-place organization is going for it.

Marchessault will count $5 million against the salary cap through 2023-24, a significant raise from the $750,000 he was making this season as one of the NHL's best bargains. General manager George McPhee announced the deal amid the Golden Knights' season-best eight-game winning streak.

Since being taken from the Florida Panthers in the expansion draft, Marchessault has been a big reason for the Golden Knights' surprising inaugural season. The 27-year-old forward has 15 goals and 22 assists in 37 games for Vegas, which leads the Western Conference at 27-9-2.

Marchessault was one of about a half-dozen players Vegas took in the expansion draft knowing they were set to be unrestricted free agents this summer. Had things gone the way most expected this season, Marchessault and wingers James Neal and David Perron figured to be dealt at the trade deadline as part of McPhee's long-term plan.

Signing Marchessault might change that equation with the Golden Knights off to the best start for an expansion team in league history. Perron has 31 points and Neal 27 and could also be important to a potential playoff run.

Marchessault has a career-high 22 assists, after he set bests of 30 goals and 51 points last season. Vegas is the fourth NHL organization for the undrafted Cap-Rouge, Quebec, native after the Columbus Blue Jackets, Tampa Bay Lightning and Panthers.

In a video posted on Twitter from the team plane on the way to St. Louis, Marchessault said he was "really excited to be part of the Golden Knights organization and with my teammates for the next six years."

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