Maroon's absence sparks wild trade speculation

Better keep an eye on this...

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Let's put a few facts out there. Out of playoff contention, the Edmonton Oilers are getting ready to be sellers at the trade deadline, and forwards Patrick Maroon and Mark Letestu are well-placed on the block. Furthermore, Maroon knows the Boston Bruins are watching him. As a matter of fact,  Bruins scout John Ferguson Jr. has reportedly watched the Oilers a half-dozen times in the last two weeks, along with the Tampa Bay Lightning. 

The forward can feel eyes burning on his back. So, is that why he was not present at the Oilers' practice on Wednesday? Maroon's absence has sparked wild trade speculation, as the Bruins and Lightning are looking to add a boost up front in the next five days. 

The Bruins acquired defenseman Nick Holden for the New York Rangers, and are not expected to be done. Bruins general manager Don Sweeney revealed on Tuesday that it was expensive for rentals on the market which is what Maroon, who is due to become an unrestricted free-agent, would be for the Bruins.

Sources say the Oilers have been asking for a first-round pick for Maroon as a starting point in negotiations, which could be a deal breaker for many interested teams. 

Maroon keeps brushing off the trade chatter, but it might be harder to do so today, after missing practice amidst all the rumors. 

I wish we weren’t talking about this. I wish our team was in a better situation (and not in sell-off mode),” Maroon told the Edmonton Sun on Tuesday. “I’d rather all you people weren’t crowding around me today, asking me about it.

“I put my jersey on every night and it’s an Edmonton Oilers’ jersey. I love the city, the group of guys. It’s a good fit for me.”

The Bruins were just in town last night, where they beat the Oilers 3-2. However, Bruins scouting and management might have seen enough of Maroon to pull the trigger on a deal five days before the deadline. 

The Bruins do have their first- through fourth-round picks for 2018, so Sweeney could possibly outbid Steve Yzerman in a battle for Maroon. Other available wingers — such as Rick Nash, Evander Kane, Thomas Vanek and Michael Grabner - may also push the Oilers to bring down their price tag, as the market is quite saturated at the moment. 

The St. Louis Blues are also said to be interested in landing hometown boy Maroon. The Blues may be Maroon’s preferred landing spot, he who keeps saying he wants to stay in Edmonton, but St. Louis would have to meet the demanded price. GM Doug Armstrong might be more willing to go after Vancouver Canucks veteran forward Thomas Vanek instead. 

One thing is clear: Maroon is no where to be found right now at the Oilers' rink.