Seattle Kraken general manager Ron Francis is going to have several options from the now back-to-back Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning come the expansion draft. One player he should take a good look at was with the Lightning for both of those titles, and another one with the St. Louis Blues in 2019. Patrick Maroon should be seriously considered for a spot on the Kraken.
Maroon Is a Winner
Having a strong group of veterans is going to be key when constructing a new franchise. As important as it is, there’s more to it than just games played and playoff runs; you need to have winners. With his third Stanley Cup title in the past three seasons, one with the St. Louis Blues and two with the Lightning, Maroon has proven that he is a winner.
Though you may not see his name on the scoresheet often, the “Big Rig” has come through for his team several times during their respective Cup runs. Maroon has scored just six goals over those 74 games, but they’ve all come at big times.
April 12, 2019 – St. Louis Blues vs. Winnipeg Jets, Game 2
Up 1-0 in the series, the Blues trailed the Jets 2-1 in the second period until Maroon tied the game at two. The Blues went on to win the game 4-3.
April 29, 2019 – St. Louis Blues @ Dallas Stars, Game 3
With the series tied 1-1, and the score 3-3 with under two minutes remaining in regulation, Maroon scored the game-winning goal to give the Blues the series lead.
May 7, 2019 – St. Louis Blues vs. Dallas Stars, Game 7
With the game tied 1-1 in double-overtime, Maroon scored to send the Blues to the Western Conference Final.
Sept. 13, 2020 – Tampa Bay Lightning @ New York Islanders, Game 4
Maroon scored an empty-net goal to clinch a 4-1 win, giving the Lightning a 3-1 series lead.
May 26, 2021 – Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Florida Panthers, Game 6
Maroon scored the opening goal, which would be the game-winning and series-clinching goal in a 4-0 shutout.
July 5, 2021 – Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Montreal Canadiens, Game 4
The only game where Maroon scored that his team lost. Trailing 2-1 with under 10 minutes to play, he scored to force overtime, 2-2. He won his third title the following game.
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All of Maroon’s goals were either game-tying or game-winning, with the exception of his empty-net goal, and his team went on to win five of the six games he scored. Add that to the physical presence he brings to a playoff run and he’s someone you want on your team to show younger players what it takes to win.
Maroon’s Statistical Overview
It’s no surprise that Maroon’s offensive numbers aren’t going to jump out of the page at you, and he even acknowledges it. However, he still is valuable. He has seen various amounts of power-play time throughout his career, according to Natural Stat Trick, and a lot of teams see value in having a big body in front of the net to screen the goalie.
In addition, he has never had lower than a 51.3 Corsi for percentage (CF%) in any full season he’s played. His CF% has seen a decline in those previous two seasons, the 51.3 CF% being this past season, but they were also shortened seasons. To be fair, Maroon saw a decrease in average time on ice, which can translate to a lower CF%.
Another area where he will bring a presence is physicality. He’s called the “Big Rig” for a reason. He’ll throw the body and be the guy to look out for the more skilled players on the roster. He has fought 15 times over the past three regular seasons and has rung up 195 penalty minutes in 193 games.
Like it or hate it, fighting still has its place in hockey, and Maroon is a guy who you’d want to do it. Kraken head coach Dave Hakstol has utilized physical players in his lineup before, and could take a liking to a player like Maroon.
Maroon: The Glue Guy
Every team, especially a team that is essentially thrown together, needs a glue guy. He doesn’t have to be the best player, but a guy who’s going to bring a team together. Having that player with a personality that the entire team can gravitate towards will help bring the team together and establish a culture within the locker room.
“[Lightning head coach Jon] Cooper: The one thing Pat always had was people are drawn to him, and there’s a reason: Because he has that personality, and he’s always had that. I always consider Patty a character who has character. He can be a funny guy in the room, but he can do things on the ice that some other guys just won’t do.”(from “From parking lot brawls to ‘Chub Club,’ untold stories of Lightning glue guy Pat Maroon”, The Athletic, 6/1/21).
Being 33 years old, his numbers are likely to further decline. However, having him in the locker room for even a year at his cheap, $900,000 cap hit would go far in starting to establish a winning culture. Many times it’s not the best teams that win, but the closest. Even if the Kraken don’t hit the water swimming, to create a good culture for younger players to walk into is imperative for their success in the long run.
Sean Raggio lives for hockey. He will be covering the Seattle Kraken for THW. Sean gained experience in writing for television, print and radio while studying journalism at Quinnipiac University and being an active member in the student media organizations there. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out on Twitter! A link can be found at the bottom of his articles, such as this one.