To the surprise of everyone, the Oilers were sellers at last year’s trade deadline. Part of their sale at the deadline involved dealing Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils for a third-round pick. It’s no secret that Maroon enjoyed his time in Edmonton and was a great fit with the team. Is it possible there could be a reunion this summer as Maroon hits free agency?
Remembering Patrick Maroon…
I think Patrick Maroon is a massively underrated player. When he broke out for 27 goals with the Oilers in 2016-17, it was widely assumed he was just a product of Connor McDavid. Obviously, McDavid is going to make Maroon better, because he makes everyone better, but Maroon deserves some credit on his own.
I wrote during the season about McDavid and how different linemates perform with and without him. The conclusion I came to was that everyone was horrendous without McDavid except for two players — Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Patrick Maroon. As much as many like to point out that Maroon was a byproduct of McDavid, he continued to drive offence even when on a different line. So not only does he already have chemistry with the MVP, but he’s shown in the past he can be a contributor on his own. I think there’s some serious value there.
During his 17 games with New Jersey, Maroon put up 13 points. That 0.76 point-per-game pace, though obviously a small sample size, is the second-highest of his career second only to what he produced in the 16 games after being acquired by the Oilers in 2016.
The Big Rig appeared on a podcast last week and Chris The Intern wrote about it for ON. Throughout the podcast, you can tell that Maroon would be happy with a reunion with the Oilers…
I’m really nervous. nervous and excited at the same time. Jersey has my heart, Edmonton has my heart. Obviously, Edmonton traded me so i don’t know if there’s a home for me there. I had my best career year there, I have a home there.. I just want to go to a place that will accept my role, and they want me there.
Of course, he also says in the quote that New Jersey has his heart, too. Being north of 30 years old and being a late bloomer, Maroon’s top priority this summer is getting paid. I’m sure he’d love to come back to Edmonton where he was immediately accepted as a fan favourite and enjoyed a breakout season, but it’s hard to say if he would take a discount to make it work.
Does it make sense?
The Oilers have about $66 million committed to their roster next year and Darnell Nurse, Matt Benning, and Ryan Strome are without contracts. The cap will rise to $78-$82 million for 2018-19, so the Oilers will have somewhere between $12 and $16 million to work with this summer.
It’s no mystery that the Oilers will need to shed salary if they’re going to make a major free agent stab. Is Maroon a major free agent? I would say that he falls somewhere in the middle. He isn’t a James Neal or John Carlson type, but he also isn’t Thomas Vanek or Michael Grabner. Somebody will be happy to pay Maroon $4 million per year over four or five years. I’m not sure if it’ll be the Oilers, though.
Maroon just turned 30 and, based on history, this is when players start to see a steep decline in their game. As great as Maroon has been and as well as he fit on the team, bringing him back on a multi-year deal when the team already has a few ugly contracts is a risk probably not worth taking. At this point, Peter Chiarelli needs to find 2018-19’s version of the Patrick Maroon he acquired two-and-a-half years ago rather than paying a premium for the real thing.
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