Jonathan Marchessault wins the 2023 Conn Smythe Trophy

2023 Conn Smythe Trophy: Marchessault's Underdog Story

The Vegas Golden Knights are Stanley Cup Champions after just their sixth season in the NHL. It's only fitting that Jonathan Marchessault, who has been a Knight since the very start, takes home the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Introduced in the 1964-65 season, the Conn Smythe is, in my opinion, the most important individual award in the world of hockey. Here’s my logic: if the Stanley Cup is the most revered team trophy in the sport, the Conn Smythe has to be the most revered individual trophy.

So, how did Marchessault get here, and what can we learn about betting on the award?

2023 Conn Smythe Trophy Odds Before Game 5
Jonathan Marchessault (Vegas)-500
Adin Hill (Vegas)+1000
Jack Eichel (Vegas)+1500
Matthew Tkachuk (Florida)+1800
Mark Stone (Vegas)+1800
Sergei Bobrovsky (Florida)+2500
Chandler Stephenson (Vegas)+15000

Odds as of June 11

Marchessault's Conn Smythe Journey

The first step for any Canadian NHL hopeful is Major Junior, and as a Quebec native, Marchessault had his sights set on the QMJHL. As an undersized forward, he had to wait until the 12th round to hear his name called by the Quebec Remparts at 208th overall.

The right winger, formerly known as Jonathan Audy-Marchessault, carved out a respectable four-year career in the Q, notching 40 goals in his final season. Despite his impressive offensive numbers, the 5-foot-9 scorer was not selected in the NHL entry draft.

Jonathan Marchessault's Career Journey
2007Drafted 208th overall by the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL
2010-11QMJHL First Team All-Star, leads playoffs in points (33)
2011-15Undrafted to NHL, plays for 3 AHL teams (Connecticut, Springfield, Syracuse)
2016-17Panthers' leading scorer (30 goals)
2017Selected in Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft
2017-23Vegas Golden Knights all-time leading scorer
2023Wins Stanley Cup & Conn Smythe

Marchessault signed an AHL contract with the New York Rangers AHL affiliate, the Connecticut Whale, and bounced around the minor leagues for five years before finally securing a full-time NHL role with the Florida Panthers in 2016-17.

Despite tying Connor McDavid in goals with 30 during his lone season in Sunrise, Marchessault was left exposed during the 2017 expansion draft. Selecting the Panthers’ leading goal scorer with a year left on his contract at $750,000 was a no-brainer for Vegas’ front office, and the rest is history.

The 32-year-old is now the face of the Golden Knights' franchise: their all-time leader in points, goals, assists and now Conn Smythe trophies. As a player who has been slept on his entire career, Marchessault fittingly eliminated his former team in the Stanley Cup Finals. Bet against this guy at your own risk.

Conn Smythe Trophy Betting

If you think regular futures betting is tough, try selecting not only the winning team but the highest-performing player from that roster. It may seem as simple as selecting the team's best player, but the problem is that Stanley Cup-caliber squads have multiple best players.

Last 10 Conn Smythe Winners
2023Jonathan Marchessault (RW)Vegas Golden Knights
2022Cale Makar (D)Colorado Avalanche
2021Andrei Vasilevskiy (G)Tampa Bay Lightning
2020Victor Hedman (D)Tampa Bay Lightning
2019Ryan O’Reilly (C)St. Louis Blues
2018Alexander Ovechkin (LW)Washington Capitals
2017Sidney Crosby (C)Pittsburgh Penguins
2016Sidney Crosby (C)Pittsburgh Penguins
2015Duncan Keith (D)Chicago Blackhawks
2014Justin Williams (RW)Los Angeles Kings

Colorado forwards Nathan Mackinnon and Mikko Rantanen can be the best player on the ice on any given night, and the same goes for Tampa Bay stars Nikita Kucherov, Steven Stamkos and Brayden Point. The problem is that they have teammates that are just as good. Even if you have a strong feeling about your Stanley Cup pick, stick to that market until the playoff narratives develop.

The area where you can truly find value in Conn Smythe betting is during the final round. This year, Marchessault entered Game 4 as a -140 favorite to win the award. While he had just one assist that night, he moved to -500 to capture the award heading into Game 5.

A pre-Game 4 bet was essentially a bet on Vegas to win the series (which was -275), barring any other heroic performances, at a discount.

Conn Smythe: Little Love For Losers

A Stanley Cup Final loser has won the Conn Smythe only five times – and not since 2003 when Mighty Ducks of Anaheim netminder Jean-Sebastien Giguere won it by posting a stellar .945 SV% and 1.62 goals-against average with five shutouts in 21 games. 

The five Final losers to win the Conn Smythe:

  • 1966 - Roger Crozier (Detroit Red Wings)
  • 1968 - Glenn Hall (St. Louis Blues)
  • 1976 - Reggie Leach (Philadelphia Flyers)
  • 1987 - Ron Hextall (Philadelphia Flyers)
  • 2003 - Jean-Sebastien Giguere (Mighty Ducks of Anaheim)