“Yeah, I’ll be circling back July 1 to see if I can be an Edmonton Oiler again … Peter knows I love it there, Todd knows I like it, all the players know it”
That was a quote from Patrick Maroon shortly after being traded from Edmonton to the New Jersey Devils at the trade deadline. For fans of the lovable Maroon, it was a glimmer of hope that the big left winger might return to once again to the Oilers.
Sadly that dream has disappeared, at least for a year as Maroon signed a one year deal with the St. Louis Blues. The 1.75 million dollar deal came as a bit of a surprise but clearly Maroon took a bit of a home town discount for the opportunity to return home.
More on the family side in a minute but first I wanted to speak about the original Maroon trade. Chiarelli acquired Maroon in February of 2016 for prospect Martin Gernat as well as a fourth round pick. That season Maroon had 13 points in 56 games with the Ducks. By this time the Oilers were already well out of playoff contention and at the time there weren't any who were jumping for joy at this deal. Analytics pointed out Maroon had success on a complimentary role with with Perry and Getzlaf and that he wasn't a hindrance in terms of possession.
I remember myself writing at the time that if Maroon could come in and be a decent third line role player or at worst producing on a fourth line than it was a fine trade.
Maroon would go on to score 14 points in his 16 games with Edmonton that season.
The following year Maroon almost hit the 30 goal mark with another 8 points in 13 playoff games.
Patrick Maroon became the perfect complimentary player on McDavid's line. He came in and performed the tasks that Milan Lucic was originally signed to do; to be a physical presence, capable of keeping up with Connor while potting in some goals. Maroon did all of this while being paid 4.5 million dollars less than Lucic (Anaheim graciously paid 500,000 of his salary)
This isn't a blog to discuss the analytics of Maroon or talk numbers.
The NHL is a league where buzz words like "locker room presence", "leadership", "grit", and "veteran mindset" get thrown around like some sort of quantifiable amount... The Oilers of the past decade have signed players purely based on the belief that having enough savvy veteran will equate to X number of wins.
When Patrick Maroon was signed, nobody was talking about his leadership or locker room presence but he very quickly enamored himself to both his teammates as well as the Oilers fans.
The big man became a fan favourite. In a blue collar town like Edmonton he did it all, he fought, scored goals, and had a heart of gold. In only a couple years with the team there are a number of moments which stand out.
Maroon had only played a handful of games with the Oilers when the organization celebrated the 30th anniversary of the 1984 team (yeah it's weird to celebrate that). Each player/alumni had their moment to shine being called onto the ice. At an event where the likes of Gretzky, Messier, and McDavid were announced; Maroon received one of the biggest cheers from the fans.
After the event Maroon had the chance to speak with Gretzky and would discuss the meeting with the media in a similar fashion that a 14 year old hockey player would discuss meeting Gretzky.
Maroon had 15 fights while playing with Edmonton. There are plenty of great ones to choose from like this one against Tom Wilson.
Family is clearly important to Patrick. No clip better highlights the kind of person he is more than this interview with Gene Principe after scoring a goal in St Louis in front of his son.
It's seeing his reaction there which makes me as an outsider very happy to see Maroon playing for the Blues. I am certain his son is ecstatic with the idea of being able to watch his dad score more goals, knowing he will be home later that evening to talk to him more.
Maroon shows there is a simple formula to bringing "leadership" to a team. Be good at hockey. Never take a shift off. Be a good and likable person. In a league where it seems many players are afraid to show their personalities it's great to see a guy like Maroon wearing his heart on his sleeve. I for one will miss having #19 on the team.