SUNRISE (CBSMiami) – The Florida Panthers lost center Jonathan Marchessault to the Vegas Golden Knights in the NHL Expansion Draft on Wednesday.
Florida management was reportedly interested in trying to work out a deal with Vegas to not select Marchessault in the expansion draft, but they obviously couldn’t get the job done.
Marchessault, who is signed for another season at just $750,000, posted 30 goals and 51 points for the Panthers last season.
The Panthers also traded away right winger Reilly Smith in what many view was a salary dump.
Taking Smith and his $5 million cap hit over the next five years was the price the Golden Knights had to pay to acquire Marchessault.
In return, the Panthers get the Golden Knights’ fourth-round selection in 2018.
Smith tallied just 15 goals and 37 points for the Panthers last season after scoring 25 goals and 50 points the year before.
Assuming he’s staying in the desert, Marchessault immediately becomes one of the Knights’ most important players.
Smith figures to be in for a bump in playing time in the desert, but it remains to be seen if a rise in production is in the cards.