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Maroon reunion inevitable this summer?

Does the big man have plans on returning to Edmonton as a free-agent?

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In case you missed it, Edmonton Oilers general manager Peter Chiarelli traded forward Patrick Maroon to the New Jersey Devils yesterday in exchange for 22-year-old NCAA prospect J.D. Dudek and a third round pick.

While it’s no surprise that Maroon was traded, the news was still emotional for the big man. It’s clear that he loved his time in Edmonton and, when asked, he wouldn’t rule out a return to The City of Champions in the offseason as a free-agent.

In a tweet since deleted by Sportsnet senior writer Chris Johnston, Maroon admitted that he’d like to return to the Oilers for the 2018-19.

Here’s a screenshot of the deleted tweet from Johnston:

Interesting. The well-intentioned Maroon likely didn’t mean for his comments to be taken as a slight to his new team, the Devils, but it’s that’s exactly how some fans took the news. This forced Maroon to step up to the media and clarify his stance:

Fair enough. But… don’t let them put a muzzle on you, Patrick. If you want to return to Edmonton, there’s nothing wrong with saying so. Go out and show the Devils fans what you’re made of… if there’s a situation whereby you could place for the Oilers again… the fans would love to have you back. Until then… knock ‘em dead, kid.

For Chiarelli and the Oilers, Maroon represented the only deal the team made in the run up to the NHL's trade deadline yesterday. The pending unrestricted free-agent was an obvious target for trade, but fans of the team also hoped that other more significant moves would be made. The Oilers shipped out veteran centre Mark Letestu to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward Pontus Aberg. Preds GM David Poile then flipped Letestu to the Columbus Blue Jackets for a 4th round pick. Other than that though... nothing.

Milan Lucic and his $6 million annual salary is still an anchor on this team's roster and Andrej Sekera's $5.5 million deal isn't looking so great either. With Connor McDavid set to earn $12.5 million next season in the first year of his mega $100 million contract, the Oilers are about to get squeezed tightly by the NHL's salary cap. While Chiarelli still has time to make some trades this offseason, he didn't do himself any favours at the deadline.