Edmonton Oilers winger Patrick Maroon is no dummy. He’s heard the rumours, he’s read the reports. He knows that his time in Edmonton may be come to an end. The 29-year-old is set to hit unrestricted free-agency for the first time in his career this summer and unless he puts pens to paper on a new deal with the Oilers between now and the NHL’s February 26th trade deadline, he’s likely to be traded in an effort to recoup assets.
“Obviously, it stinks seeing that (his name so prominent in trade speculation). You don’t want to see it on TSN every day,” said Maroon after Oilers practice yesterday. The big man has 13 goals in 45 games this season, more than any other Oilers winger, but is very much off the pace from his 27 goal campaign from last season. With a somewhat thin UFA crop this summer, Maroon is in line to earn some serious cash should he hit the open market this offseason. But, it’s clear from Maroon’s words that he’d like to remain an Edmonton Oiler.
“You know the situation I’m in,” said Maroon. “But I’m an Edmonton Oiler, I want to stay here. I love this city, the fans, this group of guys. I think my teammates know that.”
There’s been talk of a new contract in Edmonton in like $4 - $4.5 million per season range, but it’s believed that the two sides can’t come to an agreement on the term of the deal. With Maroon rolling over the odometer to 30 next season, it’s likely that the Oilers are hesitant to commit to term in the four or five year range.
Regardless, Maroon is a valuable player on and off the ice for a young Oilers team. He’s a fan favourite and a dressing room favourite and his 26 points in 45 games this season are nothing to sneeze at. The 6’3, 225 lb winger has earned a raise, no doubt… it’s just a matter of how much and for how long.
For what it’s worth, Maroon is doing his best to block everything out. “I’ve got to block that situation (trade speculation) out,” he said. “I just want to play hard every night and get this team back on track. This is a really good hockey team, but sometimes, good teams fall apart, and we’re at the situation where we’re close (to turning it around) but we’re not where we should be.”
If his time in Edmonton is indeed drawing to a close however, Maroon is grateful for the opportunity the team afforded him. “Pete’s (Chiarelli) given me every opportunity and Todd (McLellan) is playing me with the best player in the world. That’s an opportunity a lot of people can’t say they have.”
What happens next with Maroon and the Oilers remains to be seen, but one question stands out: on a team so desperate for scoring wingers, why is management not doing more to keep their top scoring winger?