Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Maroon comes home

Oakville native gets one-year, $1.75 million contract to play for hometown team

ST. LOUIS -- A long-anticipated -- and rumored -- deal was finally consummated and made official on Tuesday afternoon: Patrick Maroon is coming home.

Maroon and the Blues ironed out a one-year, $1.75 million contract, slightly above the $1.7 million originally reported here on Sunday night.
(St. Louis Blues photo)
Oakville native Patrick Maroon will come home and play for his childhood
team after signing a one-year, $1.75 million contract with the Blues.

Maroon, who is coming off a back injury that required surgery, is expected to get clearance from doctors this week, according to sources, to begin skating. The 30-year-old finished last season with the New Jersey Devils and played the final 17 regular-season games and had 13 points (three goals, 10 assists); he had 43 points (17 goals, 26 assists) in 74 games with the Devils and Oilers.

Maroon, an Oakville native who attended Oakville High School, and the Blues can revisit a contract extension, as early as Jan. 1.

The Blues, who still need to resign restricted free agents Joel Edmundson and Jordan Schmaltz, will likely have to shed a salary or two to fit all players under the cap. They were not able to make a more lucrative contract offer to Maroon being slightly under $4.8 million in cap space before the signing. According to capfriendly.com, they are left with just under $3.3 million.

"We talked to Patrick in the talking period and things slowed down and we did a couple of other things and it picked up over the last few days," Blues general manager Doug Armstrong said on the Blues website. "Last night about 10:30, I got a call from he and his representative [Ben Hankinson] that he'd like to be a part of the St. Louis Blues and we're happy to announce that."

Maroon, a member of the St. Louis Bandits of the Nortn American Hockey League in 2006-07 when he had 95 points (40 goals, 55 assists) in 57 games, is said to have left more lucrative offers on the table (New Jersey and Arizona are believed to be two of the teams) so he can return home, help the cap-strapped Blues in the immediate future with the opportunity for the team to reward him with an extension in the future and Maroon be close to his family, including son Anthony.

"You never know how these things happen," Armstrong said on the team website. "One of the great things is how badly he wanted to come back and play at home. It's a one-year opportunity for him to come back here and hopefully play with some good centermen and get back to that 27-goal performance he had in Edmonton (2016-17) or close to it."

Maroon was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2007 NHL Draft; he never played with the Flyers and didn't reach the NHL until the 2011-12 season with the Anaheim Ducks and eventually had instant chemistry playing alongside Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf before doing the same with the Oilers and Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.

Maroon was traded by the Oilers to the Devils last season on Feb. 26 and had one goal in five Stanley Cup playoff games with the Devils.

Maroon could be used here in a variety of ways but brings an element that the Blues have missed since David Backes and Troy Brouwer left via free agency after the 2015-16 season when the Blues reached the Western Conference Final.

Maroon has 178 points (78 goals, 100 assists) in 375 NHL games with the Ducks, Oilers and Devils.

"I think he knows his game very well," Armstrong said in the team interview. "He's an A-to-B type of player. He'll go to the net, he's got very good hands for a player of that size and stature. ... I think in today's NHL, wingers play both sides with much more ease than they did in the past. I like the depth and I like the ability of Mike [Yeo] to have some options playing with the three or four centermen that we have."

Maroon's signing is the culmination of what has been a busy summer for Armstrong since free agency opened on July 1. The Blues have already traded for center Ryan O'Reilly and signed center Tyler Bozak, brought back wing and former 2007 No. 1 pick David Perron and signed backup goalie Chad Johnson.

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