The return for Patrick Maroon was underwhelming for the Oilers at last year’s trade deadline. They acquired a prospect in JD Dudek and a 3rd round draft choice from the New Jersey Devils for the services of Maroon. It wasn’t the return that Oiler fans were hoping for, but GM Peter Chiarelli soon got creative and flipped the draft choice to Philadelphia.
The return in the deal with Philly? NCAA forward Cooper Marody, who played at the University of Michigan. Marody would finish his college season with 16-35-51 in 40 games, leading the Big10 in offense and emerging as a legit pro prosect. He signed with Edmonton and went to AHL Bakersfield right away.
In three games with the Condors at the end of the season, Marody posted 1-2-3 and proved that he could hang in the professional ranks. I was actually impressed with his preseason and trainnig camp this September, and although he was cut relatively early I thought he made a good impression.
Clearly, that was the case. Marody is back in Edmonton just six games into the NHL season, replacing the injured Ty Rattie. Rattie was hurt in Thursday night’s win over Boston, and will miss a couple of weeks with a core injury. Marody will get a chance to emerge as an NHL’er after a strong start in Bakersfield.
In five AHL contests this season, Marody has gone 2-4-6 and become an offensive leader for the Condors. He was firmly inside the club’s top-six forward group and looked like he belonged. For the first time in a long time, Edmonton had an AHL forward worth paying attention to.
The Chance That Awaits:
The Oiler offense simply hasn’t produced enuogh this season. Outside of the Connor McDavid line, the Oiler lineup is dotted with players who have underperformed and who simply haven’t been able to produce offense. If this club wants any chance at making the postseason, that has to change.
It doesn’t matter if the current group steps up or other players rise to the occasion, Edmonton just needs the depth players to step up and provide secondary scoring. Marody has the ability to be that guy, and if he can perform he’ll solidify a spot for himself not just while Rattie is hurt, but moving forward into the future.
The Oilers clearly like this player, and with good reason. He was an offensive difference maker at the NCAA level, and for my money was the best player in the Big10 conference a season ago. Although he has only played in eight AHL games, Marody appears to be a player capable of producing legit offensive numbers at that level. The sample size is very small and it is extremely hard to draw any conclussion from it, but the early returns are good on this player.
Marody has speed and he has skill. The Oilers, quite frankly, lack those traits throughout their forward ranks. Marody should make Edmonton a deeper team up front, and could give them another weapon moving forward. I don’t think it is a stretch to suggest that Marody is a future NHL’er and could be a top-nine forward for this club.
Now, it might not happen overnight. In fact, odds are Marody struggles a bit during this first recall and heads back to Bakersfield when Rattie eventually gets healthy. That’s okay, players are rarely ready on first recall. That said, considering Edmonton’s current struggles up front, Marody has a golden opportunity to walk into Edmonton’s dressing room and never leave again.
I’m high on Marody’s potential and furture with this club. He, like all of us, is hoping that the future starts right now. It would be a big time boost to this Edmonton forward group if a player like Marody could step up and produce in a secondary role. This season’s fate may just rest on it.