On deadline day, the Edmonton Oilers elected to ship out one of their better value contracts. The club traded pending UFA Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils in exchange for a third-round pick and a prospect.
The deal was underwhelming in return, but made sense. Maroon will be free to hit the market on July 1st and Edmonton’s season was very much over by the time the deadline hit.
Maroon is still slated for free agency this July, and Edmonton is still looking for help on the wings. Is there a reunion in the cards for the Oilers and Maroon?
Why Is He Out There?:
As mentioned above, Maroon is a free agent on July 1st and will be free to test the market with leverage for the first time in his career. The Devils are still building, and although Marron is open to returning it is possible they decide to go in a different direction.
Maroon played well during the regular season in Newark, but with free agency looming he very well could just be a rental for the Devils.
What Does He Do Well?:
Maybe most importantly, Maroon has chemistry with Connor McDavid and can keep up with the best player in the world. It may not seem like much, but it’s never a given that a player will form chemistry with McDavid. Maroon was one of the guys that made it work.
He’s not the fastest guy, but his skating is far from an issue. On top of that, he’s a perfect fit for the Chiarelli/McLellan style because while he contributes offense, Oiler fans know he can provide a physical style of play too.
Maroon broke out in 2016-17, posting 27-15-42 in 81 games on McDavid’s wing. He wasn’t as effective with the Oil last season, but still managed 14-16-30 in 57 games. After his trade to Jersey, Maroon posted 3-10-13 in 17 games. In the end, Maroon actually outproduced (43 to 42) his ’16-17 pace.
Here’s a look at Maroon’s scouting report via The Hockey News.
Assets: Has tremendous size (6-3, 230 pounds). Is willing to use his big frame to make plays. Passes the puck well and doesn’t mind mixing it up with opponents. Produces big numbers at lower levels.
Flaws: His defensive-zone coverage and decision-making skills with the puck can be issues for him. Also, his skating is only average for the big league. Lacks consistency in a big way. Takes games off.
Career Potential: Big, complementary winger.
Where Should He Play/Where Will He Play?:
Maroon is a top-six forward in the NHL, and he would play that role with the Oilers if he returned. That said, after Ryan Nugent-Hopkins’ run with McDavid, Maroon would likely find himself on the second line with Leon Draisaitl. They too have shown chemistry before.
Maroon would be eligible for a Seattle expansion draft. It could be a pretty big factor if he’s seeking a three-or-four year deal, which I think is quite likely.
What Will He Cost?:
Maroon is coming off of a three-year contract that counted $2,000,000 on the cap each season. After his best two NHL seasons, there is little doubt he’ll be earning a raise. The ideal contract, from a team perspective, would be a three-year pact at $3,500,000 per season. I suspect Maroon could earn $4,000,000 on the open market because of his size and skill combo.
Bob Stauffer recently tweeted that this could be a “less is more” kind of off-season. If that is the case, Edmonton probably makes one medium sized addition this summer. The team had success with Maroon in the past, and he fills a hole for Edmonton.
I suspect when Peter Chiarelli goes to market this summer, he’ll look at Maroon as an option on the wing. It wouldn’t be a sexy move, but it would be an astute one that could pay off depending on the price.
I don’t think it’s overly likely that Maroon returns, but it makes sense for both sides and Edmonton should at least investigate it.