Jonathan Marchessault  still believes he has to prove himself every day.
The Crunch forward already has a contract for next season, is a two-time American Hockey League All-Star, and after coming to the Tampa Bay organization in a deadline trade, leads Syracuse with 48 points. The Crunch may be a longshot to make the playoffs, but Marchessault has no plans to mail in the rest of the season.
“As a professional, you always have to be ready for any game,” the 23-year-old said. “Every game is important, so you’ve always got to be able to show what you have and what you've got.”
Crunch coach Rob Zettler likes the 5-9, 180-pounder’s attitude.
“When you ask someone, more often than not they’ll usually be their worst critic and expect a lot from themselves,” Zettler said. “That’s what I’m looking for: guys that expect a lot of themselves and are ready to handle that challenge.”
Since joining the Crunch one month ago, Marchessault has seven points in 12 games, including four points in his last two games.
“I’m starting to see what he can bring,” Zettler said. “Obviously, he’s pretty talented offensively in tight spaces and tight areas.”
With solid offensive numbers throughout his career, Marchessault has worked on becoming a more complete player on and off the ice.
“It’s my third year, so I think I can bring some leadership,” Marchessault said. “Also I can bring offensive production and be able to play both ways, so my teammates and coaches can rely on me in a defensive situation.”
After completing his junior career with the Quebec Remparts, Marchessault signed with the AHL's Connecticut Whale and registered 68 points over 85 games in his rookie season. He signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets organization last year, and put up 70 points over 82 games to earn a trip to the AHL All-Star Game for the second straight season.
Despite his success, the Quebec native played just two games with the Blue Jackets.
“I wasn’t really happy with how my career was going there,” Marchessault said. “Me and my agent talked about it a lot, and we thought it would be a good thing to change organizations.”
Moved to Tampa Bay at the trade deadline, Marchessault sees the promise in the Lightning organization, which has frequently given chances to undersized forwards.
“Most of the guys in Tampa Bay are Syracuse players, so it’s good for that,” Marchessault said. “Hopefully I can be a part of that group.”