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?
|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.
|2007||Drafted 208th overall by the Quebec Remparts of the QMJHL|
|2010-11||QMJHL First Team All-Star, leads playoffs in points (33)|
|2011-15||Undrafted to NHL, plays for 3 AHL teams (Connecticut, Springfield, Syracuse)|
|2016-17||Panthers' leading scorer (30 goals)|
|2017||Selected in Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft|
|2017-23||Vegas Golden Knights all-time leading scorer|
|2023||Wins 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.
YOUR 2023 CONN SMYTHE TROPHY WINNER IS JONATHAN MARCHESSAULT!!!!!! 📣 pic.twitter.com/HnQIA5YIk9— z - Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 14, 2023
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.
|2023||Jonathan Marchessault (RW)||Vegas Golden Knights|
|2022||Cale Makar (D)||Colorado Avalanche|
|2021||Andrei Vasilevskiy (G)||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2020||Victor Hedman (D)||Tampa Bay Lightning|
|2019||Ryan O’Reilly (C)||St. Louis Blues|
|2018||Alexander Ovechkin (LW)||Washington Capitals|
|2017||Sidney Crosby (C)||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|2016||Sidney Crosby (C)||Pittsburgh Penguins|
|2015||Duncan Keith (D)||Chicago Blackhawks|
|2014||Justin 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: