The Vegas Golden Knights acquired Jonathan Marchessault and Reilly Smith from the Florida Panthers on Wednesday.
Marchessault was selected in the expansion draft, after being left unprotected by Florida. With a limited amount of players they could protect, the Panthers opted to go in a different direction. Despite Marchessault's 30 goals in 2016-17, Florida decided he was more expendable than some other names.
Smith was traded by Florida to Vegas for a fourth-round pick in 2018. This deal appears to be financially based on the surface. After a big 2015-16 season, Smith took a step back in 2016-17. By shedding Smith's salary, Florida could look to add elsewhere.
Vegas' coach is Gerard Gallant, the former Florida leader and he is familiar with both Marchessault and Smith. Gallant also knew plenty about other available players, but he along with Vegas' front office simply could not pass up the chance to grab Marchessault. The 26-year old has moved around the league, but may have a long-time home in Vegas.
Before landing in Florida, Marchessault spent time in the organizations of the New York Rangers, Columbus Blue Jackets and Tampa Bay Lightning. Marchessault's 30 goals in 2016-17 led Florida and he added 21 assists as well.
With the expansion draft out of the way, Florida can now focus on another kind of draft. The NHL's annual entry draft will begin on Friday.