Oakville native leaving Blues after one season,
helped hometown win its first-ever Stanley Cup
ST. LOUIS -- Pat Maroon's hometown honeymoon is over.
At least for now, and perhaps for good as a member of the Blues after the Oakville native signed a one-year, $900,000 contract with the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
Pat Maroon drinks from the Stanley Cup after the Blues defeated the Boston
Bruins in Game 7 on June 12 to claim their first-ever championship.
Maroon, 31, became an unrestricted free agent after coming home last summer to sign a one-year, $1.75 million contract and promptly went on to help his hometown Blues win their first-ever Stanley Cup in June when they defeated the Boston Bruins in seven games, culminated by a 4-1 win in Game 7 on June 12.
Maroon took less money and term and came home to be close to his son Anthony, fiancee Francesca Vangel, parents Philip and Patricia, brothers Phil and Justin, sister Jen and countless other family and friends. He now gets to go to Florida, where there is no state income tax.
Much like his teammates the first part of the season, Maroon struggled and on a couple occasions was a healthy scratch to the point where Blues general manager Doug Armstrong contemplated placing Maroon on waivers to give him a shot at perhaps joining another team.
But the veteran forward turned his season around and finished with 28 points (10 goals, 18 assists) in 74 regular-season games and had seven points (three goals, four assists) in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games.
Maroon perhaps scored one of the biggest goals in franchise history when he netted the game-winner in double overtime of a 2-1 win against the Dallas Stars in Game 7 of the second round; he also scored a game-winner late in the third period of Game 3 in the series with the Stars. Maroon also assisted on linemate Tyler Bozak's game-winner late in the third period in Game 1 of the first round against the Winnipeg Jets.
Maroon formed a line with Bozak and Robert Thomas that produced zone time and puck protection, wearing down the opposition and turned into one of the more productive lines in the playoffs before Thomas was hurt in Game 1 against the Bruins.
Maroon said on his day with the Cup that he kept an open dialogue with Armstrong and weighed his options before making the move to the Lightning, which won the Presidents' Trophy last season before shockingly being swept in the first round against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Maroon will rejoin Tampa coach Jon Cooper, who was Maroon's coach in 2006-07 with the St. Louis Bandits of the North American Hockey League, a Tier II Junior A hockey squad, and provide the Lightning with size and ability to possess the puck in the o-zone.
|(St. Louis Blues photo)|
The Blues celebrated with Pat Maroon (second from right) after the Oakville
native scored in double overtime of Game 7 against the Dallas Stars.
With the Blues in a salary cap crunch, with a little more than $1.9 million in salary cap space available and up to $2.6-$2.7 million with restricted free agent Ivan Barbashev yet to sign and the fact the Blues signed some of their younger players who will be given more ice time and prominent roles, it became clear that Maroon's time in St. Louis was coming to an end.
Maroon will also join former Blues defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk, who signed a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Lightning on Aug. 5 after being bought out by the New York Rangers.
And so ends Maroon's tenure with the Blues after just one season, but who could have scripted it better after winning it all?
Maroon has 206 points (88 goals, 118 assists) in 449 career regular-season NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils and Blues; he has 34 points (16 goals, 18 assists) in 73 playoff games.