When the Florida Panthers misplaced Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith to the Vegas Golden Knights within the 2017 growth draft, it was instantly thought to be an enormous blunder that made no sense.
It has not solely turned out to be one of many worst roster transactions of the wage cap period, but it surely may also find yourself serving to to price them a Stanley Cup.
Due to their 3-2 win over the Panthers on Saturday night time, the Golden Knights are only one win away from profitable their first-ever Stanley Cup. In the event that they get that win they may carry residence a championship in simply their sixth season within the league, a remarkably quick climb for a brand new franchise.
Vegas has been a Stanley Cup contender from the second it arrived within the NHL, reaching the Stanley Cup Last in its first season.
A part of the rationale for that success was extra favorable growth draft guidelines than earlier growth groups had.
The opposite half was the opposite groups within the NHL utterly shedding their minds and giving Vegas far more than they wanted to.
A type of groups was the Panthers.
Again within the 2017 growth draft the Panthers left Marchessault and Smith unprotected, regardless of the actual fact they each had 30-goal seasons on their resumes and had been among the many crew’s greatest gamers. Marchessault was actually the crew’s main goal-scorer the earlier yr.
They as a substitute opted to guard gamers like Nick Bjugstad, Mark Pysyk and Alex Petrovic that didn’t have the identical worth, and in all three instances had been ultimately traded or dumped from the crew throughout the subsequent two years.
A part of the technique from the Panthers was the actual fact they had been determined to dump Smith’s contract and had been hoping the Vegas would take him to clear $5 million in wage cap area from their books. So as to entice them to do this, they labored out a commerce with Vegas that additionally despatched Marchessault to the Golden Knights in return for them deciding on Smith within the growth draft.
All Florida bought in return was a 2018 fourth-round draft decide and a few further wage cap area.
Marchessault and Smith had been fast success tales in Vegas and have been top-line gamers yearly since. They’ve additionally performed an enormous position in Vegas’ Stanley Cup Last run this season, proper up by the Last.
Marchessault enters Sunday tied for the postseason lead in scoring with 24 factors, whereas he has already scored 4 objectives with three assists within the first 4 video games towards the Panthers. Smith, in the meantime, has a aim within the collection. As a duo, they’ve mixed for 5 objectives on their very own within the first 4 video games of the collection. The Panthers as a crew solely have 9 objectives.
It was an apparent mistake by the Panthers on the time. It’s nonetheless haunting them right this moment and may assist price them a championship.