Prospect Profile: Blue Jackets’ Jonathan Audy-Marchessault
- Photo Courtesy of audy-marchessault.com
By Tim Lucarelli (@tlucarelli)
After last season’s frustrating last place finish, the Columbus Blue Jackets are looking to rebuild. While most of the offseason attention has been focused on some of the new faces for next season, Sergei Bobrovsky, Nick Foligno, and Adrian Aucoin, there was one other move that slid under the radar. On July 1, the Blue Jackets signed former New York Rangers prospect Jonathan Audy-Marchessault.
Audy-Marchessault is a name that most will not recognize, because he is an undrafted 5’9” player who is only 175 lbs. Audy-Marchessault spent four seasons with the Quebec Remparts, posting 95 points in 68 games in his final season. Once he was ready to move on, he signed a two-way contract (AHL/ECHL) with the Connecticut Whale, but it was expected he would spend the year in the ECHL.
That would all change quickly. After an adjustment period, Audy-Marchessault was on a mission to prove he deserved to play in Connecticut. Before long, he was scoring at a fervent pace, and was tied for the team lead in scoring at the end of the season, registering an impressive 64 points in 76 games. That turned out to be third-most among rookies and a tie for tenth-most in the league. Connecticut Whale head coach Ken Gernander had this to say about him:
“Audy-Marchessault comes in as an undrafted, unsigned free agent looking for a job. He becomes the leading scorer on the team and an All-Star representative. It’s hard for a young kid to play at that level all season long, but there are others that did it. You look at [Cory] Conacher and [Tyler] Johnson in Norfolk, and they did it.”
“One of the reasons it wasn’t quite as surprising to me is that when he started out, he was on the fourth line because he was such a hard worker and so responsible defensively. Because of that, he earned more ice time and more responsibility. Every challenge that was placed before him, he seemed to handle quite well. So he got the offensive responsibilities and the power-play responsibilities and he just seemed to flourish.”
Not only did Audy-Marchessault make it to the AHL All-Star game, he also scored three points in the process and notched the first goal of the game, just 2:06 into regulation. For a guy who started on the fourth line, he came a long way. Not only does he have talent, but he also works exceptionally hard. That type of work ethic can be contagious, and for an organization that has grown accustomed to losing, perhaps some of Audy-Marchessault’s work ethic will rub off on other prospects in the system.
From his own personal website, Audy-Marchessault issued a statement after signing with Columbus:
“After four incredible seasons with the Remparts and one with the Connecticut Whale, it’s already come to an end. I would like to thank all the people who have been there for me through these years in the highs and the lows: the Remparts and Whale organizations, my teammates, my family, my friends and especially the supporters. While I look forward to my future now, I will never forget these last four years; I lived unforgettable moments and I thank you Quebec and Hartford. It’s now time for me to go and develop my skills with the Columbus Blue Jackets oraganisation.”
Audy-Marchessault will face stiff competition from guys like Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Matt Calvert, and Alexandre Giroux, among others, but he is a player who is constantly challenging himself to get to the next level. He will likely spend the year in the AHL, but if he works hard enough, he should get a cup of coffee or two this year. And if that happens, he may just work hard enough to force the Blue Jackets to keep him on the roster.