It might seemed far-fetched for a 28 year-old who has 34 goals and 93 points in his first 220 NHL games to become a regular top-six forward, but very few players are blessed with the opportunity in front of Patrick Maroon.
Maroon has proven he can play with skilled forwards. He played with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in Anaheim, and he thinks the game and sees the ice well enough to not look out of place alongside them.
With the Oilers, he played the most EV minutes beside Jordan Eberle, Connor McDavid, Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall. Team USA has him riding shotgun with the Auston Matthews.
He’s getting every opportunity to become a top-six forward, but how productive can he be?
It is hard to say, and 16 games with the Oilers is a very small sample size. He scored more points, 14, with the Oilers than he did in 56 games with Ducks (13) this year. He wasn’t in great shape at training camp and it cost him icetime under Bruce Boudreau.
In his first two full NHL season Maroon was consistent.
In 2013/2014 he scored 11-18-29 in 62 games (.47 points per game).
In 2014/2015 he tallied 9-25-34 in 71 games (.48 points per game).
He was even better in the playoffs, totaling 9-9-18 in 29 games (.62 PPG).
Outside of his point totals, his overall game was more focused and balanced in the post season. At 6’3″ and 230 pounds, he is load for any D-man. Most can’t handle him when he is pushing the pace and energized, but finding that gear consistently in the regular season has held him back, at least in the NHL.
Maroon has proven he can be an effective scorer in junior and in the American Hockey League.
In his only season with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League, he scored 35-55-90 in 64 games. He was 19 years old and led the Knights in scoring. Jadran Beljo and Akim Aliu were second and third in scoring with 62 and 61 points. Maroon was their go-to guy.
He’s put up solid numbers in the AHL as well.
In 2008/2009 he scored 23-31-54 in 80 games as a rookie.
In 2009/2010 he potted 11-33-44 in 67 games.
In 2010/2011 he tallied 26-30-56 in 66 games.
In 2011/2012 he scored 32-42-74 in 75 games.
In his final season in the AHL he scored 26-24-50 in 64 games before being recalled to the Ducks.
His PPG each year was 0.67, 0.65, 0.84, 0.99 and 0.78. He was third, fourth, second, first and first in team scoring in his five AHL campaigns. He also had 62, 125, 98, 120 and 139 penalty minutes respectively over the five seasons.
He is a rare breed of size, skill and nastiness, but he needs to bring it consistently to remain a top-six NHL player.
We could project what his numbers might be, but I’m not sure how we factor his commitment level into the equation. It is the wildcard, and Maroon admitted as much when we spoke at the season-ending media avails.
I asked him directly about the opportunity in front of him. The chance to ride shotgun with Connor McDavid, and the other skilled forwards on the Oilers, but mainly about playing with McDavid.
“It is exciting, but it starts with me in the off-season. It is on me and dedicating myself and coming to camp in great shape, being ready, being focused. I had a tough start in Anaheim this year. I was up and down the lineup. I wasn’t ready and I wasn’t playing my best.
“I need to focus on what I need to do to get better as a hockey player. It is a great opportunity to play with a great player, but I have to keep working on my footspeed. I have to get in better shape and I’m excited to have the opportunity to come to camp and play with him (McDavid),” said Maroon.
I followed up asking him about his focus and commitment.
“If I’m being completely honest, I didn’t work as hard as I needed to last summer. I can’t blame anyone but myself. It’s not like I did nothing, but I didn’t do enough. The playoffs were great, and I proved to myself I could be a solid contributor (he scored 7-4-11 in 16 games), but I need to have that mentality all season. It starts in the summer, and I’ve learned from last year what I need to do to ensure I’m in not just in good shape, but great shape when camps opens,” said Maroon.
I’ve interviewed many players over the years, and I believe I can tell when a player is just giving you a quote for the sake or it, or when they are being genuine and Maroon very much came across as the latter. He sees the opportunity in front of him, and he loved playing in Edmonton.
When the fans gave him the Marooooonnn chant during the final home game, and again when he was named second star, it impacted him. He was overwhelmed. He said it was one of the best experiences of his life. He truly was humbled by it.
Combine that emotion with the opportunity to play with McDavid and the other skilled forwards in Edmonton and Maroon looked almost excited about his summer of hard work.
Head coach Todd McLellan gave him a chance to produce in Edmonton.
He played 145 minutes of EV with Jordan Eberle and produced 3-2-5.
In 133 minutes with McDavid he tallied 4-3-7.
He was with Leon Draisaitl for 64 minutes and had 2-1-3.
In 40 minutes with Taylor Hall he scored 2-2-4.
Maroon has two years remaining on his contract. Two solid, consistent productive seasons could earn him a hefty raise and some long-term security. Very few players are presented with an opportunity like this.
He has proven he can be a productive top-six forward at every other level. In an extremely small sample size with the Oilers, 14 points in 16 games, and during the playoffs, he’s showed he could in the NHL as well.
He has all the tools to become a productive and consistent top-six forward for the Oilers, but it is up to him to realize his potential. After speaking him with on numerous occasions about this subject, I get the sense he won’t waste this chance.
5th Annual WSOP Charity Tournament
Happy to announce we will be having the tourney at the awesome Yellowhead Casino this year. It includes a complimentary lunch. It sells out fast. You can sign up here. Good luck.
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