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Jonathan Marchessault Intrigued By Nashville’s Playing Style

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Credit: AP

Jonathan Marchessault characterized his most recent trip to Bridgestone Arena on March 26 as “annoying.”

Marchessault, then playing for the Vegas Golden Knights, saw his team’s 4-1 lead in the third period become a 5-4 overtime loss to the red-hot Nashville Predators. It wound up being the final tally of Nashville’s franchise-record 18-game point streak.

“We had that game in the bag … and we lost it,” he said. “We were pretty disappointed, but it was impressive to see the resiliency that they had.”

Fast forward three months and Marchessault found himself looking for a new home after being unable to reach a contract extension in Vegas. Nashville returned to the forefront of his mind.

The 33-year-old forward agreed to a five-year, $27.5 million deal with the Predators on Monday, the same morning general manager Barry Trotz also inked seven-time NHL All-Star Steven Stamkos and standout defenseman Brady Skjei.

“Nashville was definitely the best of both worlds,” Marchessault said. “It’s one of the best cities in the NHL and also a team that wants to win. That’s the two things I wanted.”

Marchessault comes to Nashville with 487 career points (230 goals, 257 assists) over 638 games. He was an original member of the Golden Knights’ Stanley Cup runner-up team in 2017-18, a group dubbed “The Misfits” since most went unprotected by their former teams in the NHL expansion draft.

He views the Predators in a similar vein.

“I think I see a little bit of misfit in the Preds, to be honest,” he said. “Just with the way they played last year, their hard-nosed mentality, wearing things down and all that – I think it’s something I saw playing against them. They reminded me last year of my first year as a Golden Knight. It’s a good thing. Hopefully the new guys can come in and help the team to get a championship. That’s the goal here.”

Marchessault, who stands 5-foot-9, 185 pounds, is known for his fast-paced, fiery style which allows him to play bigger than his size. Trotz said he doesn’t envision the Predators needing to alter their approach to accommodate Marchessault and the other additions.

“We play fast, we play hard, we’re in your face and we lean on you a little bit,” Trotz said. “The types of players we got (Monday) – they all do that. I think our staples will always be our structure and our hard work, but now we’ve added a level of skill and that quick pop that you need, especially in the playoffs.”

Marchessault is fresh off posting a career-high 42 goals to go with a team-best 69 points last season. However, Vegas GM Kelly McCrimmon wasn’t interested in giving Marchessault the term he wanted, opting instead to let the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy winner walk in free agency.

“In the case of Marchy, it was really important for him to get the term of five years,” McCrimmon told reporters Monday. “That wasn’t something we were comfortable with and, quite frankly, the data doesn’t support (his ask). He’s going to be 38 years old in that final season.”

Marchessault said he was “really upset” when it became clear the two sides were at odds last weekend. It prompted the veteran and his agent Pat Brisson to pivot to their backup plan.

That may benefit Nashville, where Marchessault will have a chance to age more gracefully than Vegas anticipated.

“It’s a tough way to do it and it’s a tough business, so good for them,” he said. “Hopefully it pays off for them in the long run. I know they want to win right now again. It’s going to be intriguing to see. The future is going to tell us who was right.”

Follow Russell Vannozzi on X/Twitter @RussellV_MSP.

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