Do the Oilers need to acquire a player like they did with Pat Maroon eight years ago today?

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Zach Laing
4 months ago
It’s been eight years since the Edmonton Oilers picked up Pat Maroon, acquiring him from the Anaheim Ducks on this day in 2016 for defenceman Martin Gernat and a fourth-round pick that year.
It was the only move then GM Peter Chiarelli made on that day — albeit one that didn’t shake out until after the deadline even passed — but was one that paid off dividends for the Oilers. Maroon had enjoyed a few solid years with the Ducks, racking up 26 goals and 79 points in 204 games.
He was a big body who played up and down the lineup for the Ducks, getting time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in stretches. That was a big reason why the Oilers picked him up in the first place, thinking they could pair him with Connor McDavid or Leon Draisaitl in the top-six.
They learned just how much that would pay off, as Maroon enjoyed some career years in Edmonton, scoring 49 goals, 37 assists for 86 points in 154 games, while adding three goals and eight points in 13 playoff games. Of Maroon’s regular season goals, McDavid assisted on 23 of them, while Maroon assisted on nine of McDavid’s goals. Simply put, he found ways to be productive with McDavid, and without him.
While his time in Edmonton lasted only parts of three seasons, before a trade to the New Jersey Devils, his impact was massive.
“I didn’t really want to get traded out of Edmonton,” Maroon said months after the deal in an interview with Spittin’ Chiclets.
“I actually loved it there. I actually liked it. The fans are great. You know what the most important thing was? The guys were great. Unbelievable guys. You could not have found a better group of guys. But obviously I got traded for a reason. We weren’t winning.”
And Oilers fans loved him back, giving him the nickname “Big Rig,” while his son, who was often seen around the rink at practices and games, was “Little Rig.”
Now, years later, the Oilers are facing a trade deadline where a similar kind of trade is needed. No, not one where the team acquires a player who can play on the top line alongside McDavid, but rather one where the club is able to extract immense amounts of value from it.
Gernat, who the Oilers drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, had hit a blocking point with the team, never progressing how they hoped he would. He was one of those “feel good” draft picks that played on those incredible Edmonton Oil Kings teams in the early 2010’s and never panned out. In fact, the year after he Ducks acquired him, he was out of North America entirely, since playing pro hockey in Czechia, Slovakia, Switzerland and this year, in Russia.
The fourth-round pick, meanwhile, was exactly what you would expect a fourth-round pick to turn into a longshot. While the player they selected, 6’2 left-winger Jack Kopacka, earned an entry-level contract, he never played in the NHL, and wasn’t re-signed.
Edmonton needs to try and find a similar kind of deal at the deadline this year, where they could potentially move out one of their lower-ranked prospects in the system and a mid-to-late-round draft pick for somebody who could have a real impact on this team down the stretch of the season.
While Peter Chiarelli will go down as one of, if not the worst general managers in franchise history for his awful inability to evaluate pro talent, the Maroon trade will forever go down as one of his brightest trades.

Zach Laing is the Nation Network’s news director and senior columnist. He can be followed on Twitter at @zjlaing, or reached by email at zach@thenationnetwork.com.

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