The Edmonton Oilers made one of their best trade deadline acquisitions in their history when they traded for Patrick Maroon, formerly of the Anaheim Ducks.
The price was a defensive prospect, Martin Gerat, and a fourth round pick. Gerat never made it in North America and headed overseas. The pick turned into Jack Kopacka, a forward with limited offensive potential based on his junior numbers.
The Oilers received a skilled forward with size and grit who played an important role in the team's 2016-17 playoff run. He had a career year that season, putting up 42 points, with only a $2 million cap hit. He's on pace for a similar season, but with the team's playoff hopes fading, and his contract coming to an end, he's the most likely player to be dealt ahead of the trade deadline.
Allan Mitchell of The Athletic outlines the possible replacements for Maroon in a recent article. He firmly believes they need to find the next Maroon, that is a low cost acquisition who will thrive in Edmonton.
He lists six players from different teams who have very comparable numbers to Maroon from the moment he was traded to the Oilers.
Here's the list.
There's one obvious name that sticks out on this list. Sam Bennett of the Calgary Flames has virtually identical numbers to Maroon from when he was traded to the Oilers two years ago, the only catch - he's just 21 years old.
He's picked up his game after a disastrous start to the season, but a question mark remains on his head, as it is uncertain if the former 4th overall pick will ever live up to his expected potential.
His 17 points in 44 games are ordinary at best, and he won't match his career high of 36 points in his rookie season, barring a miracle. This would be a tricky deal to complete, as the two teams are obvious provincial rivals, but Mitchell points out that despite the fact that they'd be trading a young player with upside for an older guy on an expiring deal, the allure may still be there for the Flames.
"However, adding Maroon on the Flames' portside is an intriguing idea. From an Oilers fan point of view, you may look at this as unpromising, but Bennett alongside Connor McDavid might be sublime," Mitchell writes.
Of course, this couldn't be a one-for-one deal - Edmonton would have to sweeten the pot, but Maroon could be a valuable asset for Calgary as they hope to make a deep playoff run this season. The Western conference, being as competitive as it is, doesn't leave much room for error, and Maroon could be an answer for the Flames.
Likewise for Edmonton - Bennett could move to the wing and thrive on McDavid's, or Draisaitl's side.
Bennett can also play with an edge, in case Peter Chiarelli felt it necessary to have that component in the game of the player who replaces Maroon.
The other names on the list are also interesting, but perhaps less so than Bennett. Who do you think Chiarelli should target?