Ramblings: Marchessault Extends in Vegas, Forsberg’s Injury Fallout, Glass Saving and more (Jan 4)

steve laidlaw

2018-01-03

 

Jonathan Marchessault signed six-year contract extension worth $5.0 million annually. There is some risk for Vegas signing a 27-year-old having a career season, but Marchessault has always had talent, scoring efficiently at every stop in his career. Only now is he getting full-time top usage and is very much the driver of the bus on his line, unlike last season, when you might have thought it was simply sponging off Aleksander Barkov.

I will never begrudge a player for getting paid. I do wonder how this will impact Marchessault going forward. Generally, I pooh-pooh the notion of contract status affecting players, not because there cannot be psychological affects, but because each player is impacted differently. For every player who has a great performance in a contract year, there is another who has a bad season. For instance, Cam Atkinson has been a train wreck, but earned a contract extension similar as Marchessault’s.

Will Marchessault’s scoring fall off because of a contract extension? Or will it fall off because his on-ice shooting percentage is a little too high at 10.2%? In future years, will his production fall short of what he did this season because of a big-money deal or because player performance typically tapers off at age 26?

None of this is to say that Marchessault will be bad. He is clearly very good, producing possession metrics, shot rates and scoring rates of a legit top line winger. If anything, $5.0 million of average annual value is underpayment for what Marchessault will provide. He should be at or close to a top line winger for the first few years of this deal. On the typical aging curve, a player produces about 75% of their peak 5-on-5 production once they reach 30.

Through his five seasons of NHL action, ranging from age 23-27, Marchessault has produced 2.0 points per 60 minutes of 5-on-5 play, which is a benchmark I use for identifying elite scoring talent. Marchssault has peaked with 2.8 points per 60 this season. I suspect this is more outlier than his actual peak, but we can’t know for sure. Following the standard aging curve, by year three or four of this new deal Marchessault will have tapered into the 1.5-1.8 points-per-60 range, which is solid, but not top line stuff. Before going full panic mode, again Marchessault should still be good for the next few seasons.

The breakdown of the deal for Vegas is that it the payouts mirror very well what we’d expect from Marchessault given standard aging: