In his latest instalment of 31 Thoughts, Elliotte Friedman suggested that while RNH was the sexy name in Oiler rumours, perhaps the more realistic name is Pat Maroon. Well, he’s right.
Peter Chiarelli made what I think was his best trade as Oiler GM (your mileage may vary) when he moved struggling prospect Martin Gernat and a fourth round pick for Patrick Maroon. There was almost no downside. Even if he had remained a bottom six forward, the Oilers gave up nothing of value or really of potential value to get him. What they ended up with was a top six LW who displaced Milan Lucic as McDavid’s winger.
Oh, and the Ducks retained 25% of his salary. Edmonton has only had to pay him $1,500,000 on the cap.
For that low price, the Oilers have received 70 points in 123 games, or a 0.57 points per game. He scored 27 goals last year and is on pace for 24 this year. Obviously, Edmonton would love to re-sign Patrick Maroon, but he’s a UFA on July 1st and the Oilers are over a cap barrel.
Put yourself in Maroon’s shoes for a minute. The Oilers traded away scoring wingers two seasons in a row and are desperate for offense from the wings. All you’ve done since arriving in Edmonton is score goals and connect with the best player in the game. You bring literally everything the team has asked from you. You have size, grit, hands and you’re in the prime of your career.
What else do you want?
As an NHL player, you have worked your entire life to be in a position to be a free agent (in a year when the cap is supposed to rise) that is desired by multiple teams in the league. This is the absolute height of your earning potential and it may never get better for you personally or financially.
Are you going to take less than you might get on the open market? Maybe.
Maybe playing with Connor McDavid (although he’s off that line right now) is enough to make you take $3.5 million/year for five years instead of letting someone blow their budget on your next contract. But maybe it just isn’t enough.
When it comes to trading Patrick Maroon, I am of the mind that if it can be avoided then it should be avoided. Get the man signed to a reasonable deal if humanly possible. However, if he walks away for nothing at the end of the season to sign in his hometown, where his family lives, then that’s an opportunity lost.
With the season having gone so poorly so early, it’s a tough pill to swallow that Maroon might be taken off the roster too, but he is the one in the driver seat. If he doesn’t sign a new deal before New Year’s day then I would like to think that Edmonton’s long term future becomes more important than salvaging this season in particular.
I don’t know what the rental market looks like, but for a cheap, big, skilled forward you would have to think a deal can be made that brings Edmonton a decent prospect or pick. You better believe that St Louis would pay a premium for a trade within conference for a guy who might sign there long term.
When it comes to replacing Maroon on the Oilers moving forward, you better believe that there will be a host of players who would want the job of being McDavid’s LW. Of course, I thought that about being McDavid’s RW and here we are 25 games into the season and it’s still not solved.
Is the grass greener on the other side for Maroon or the Oilers? I hope a deal can be made at a reasonable rate so we don’t have to find out.