There are things in the National Hockey League that keep going back and forth for a while, until someone puts their foot down and says enough is enough. Prior to the trade deadline back in February, there were rumors that while Edmonton Oilers forward Patrick Maroon was available on the trade block, management and his agent were still communicating on the possibility of a contract extension that would have kept him with the team. Of course, it did not take place and Maroon was traded on Feb. 26 to the New Jersey Devils, for a 2019 third-round pick and prospect J.D. Dudek.
Maroon got a taste of the playoffs when the Devils clinched a spot to face the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first round. While they were unfortunately eliminated in five games, New Jersey set themselves as a true contender, which might have had an impact on Maroon's latest statement.
Oilers fans and management were hoping that Maroon, who is a pending unrestricted free agent with a modest $1.5-million salary cap hit, could return to Edmonton via free agency this summer, it seems like the 30-year-old has other plans in mind.
"I would love to be a part of this team," Maroon said at Devils break-up day on Tuesday, as reported by NJ.com. "Obviously there's options every where, so for me, I've just got to take some time and hopefully in the next few months, figure out what's going on. I loved it here. They treated me with nothing but respect and gave me every opportunity to succeed, so for me, I'd love to stay, but with right now I just don't know what's going on with the team and everything."
According to the information provided by Cap Friendly, the Devils have over $55 million invested in 17 players. General manager Ray Shero has plenty of room to work with next season and could decide to bring back Maroon and Moore on affordable short-term deals. Other tasks should include re-signing restricted free agents Miles Wood, Stefan Noesen and Blake Coleman to cost-effective contracts, while still having enough space to sign a quality free agent.
As for the Oilers, it seems like their hopes to acquiring Maroon and count them as part of their roster once again have been crushed. Edmonton could definitely use a strong powerful winger in their lineup, but GM Peter Chiarelli might have to scour the free agent or trade market to find him - and it won't be Maroon.