As far as first impressions go, it is next to impossible to not like what we have seen from Patrick Maroon during his first two games as a member of the Edmonton Oilers. In the span of just over 24 hours, the hulking American winger made his presence felt both from a physical standpoint and on the scoresheet. Outside of getting tagged with a ridiculous uppercut during an energetic tilt with Columbus Blue Jackets heavyweight Jared Boll, not much has gone wrong for the former Anaheim Ducks winger since arriving in the Alberta capital.
After starting on the third line with Lauri Korpikoski and Mark Letestu in his debut against the Philadelphia Flyers, the 27-year old found himself promoted into a top-six role after a couple of periods and wasted little time in making the most of his opportunity. Maroon’s addition has not only given Todd McLellan’s forward group a different look but also helped spark the slumping duo of Leon Draisaitl and Taylor Hall. In fact, the Oilers bench boss decided to use the veteran winger on a line with Hall and Connor McDavid during third-period action of last night’s 6-3 loss to the Blue Jackets and the trio combined to set-up the rookie’s thirteenth tally of the season.
Maroon Has Been A Perfect Fit…So Far
In watching Maroon over these last six periods and listening to him be interviewed, there appears to be little doubt as to what his role with this club will entail over their last 17 games of the season. Should the former sixth-round pick of the Flyers come in and play an aggressive style of game on a nightly basis and team up with the likes Zack Kassian and Matt Hendricks in not allowing opposing players to take liberties with the young core of this team, most notably that guy wearing No. 97, my guess is Peter Chiarelli will be a happy man and his head coach won’t be far behind.
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While fellow Trade Deadline day acquisition Adam Pardy looks to be in way over his head, averaging twenty minutes of ice-time since being claimed off waivers by the Winnipeg Jets, the Missouri native has looked anything but uncomfortable playing alongside the Oilers high-end skill up front. However, what has been somewhat surprising is Maroon’s ability to keep up with his linemates, despite being a below average skater himself. To his credit, he has kept things simple in all three zones and seems focused on cycling the puck and getting to the front of the opposing team’s net as often as possible.
Could We Be Looking at Dustin Penner 2.0?
The fact Maroon has shown a touch around the net should not come as a surprise, as he did enjoy some success in Anaheim when used on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. In this neck of woods, when you think of an inconsistent winger with the ability to score goals that spent time playing alongside the Ducks dynamic duo, the name that always comes to mind is that of Dustin Penner. While the former NHLer tended to frustrate fans no matter where he played, there is one big difference between him and the Oilers most recent addition.
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Whether you were a fan of the player or not, there is no questioning Penner’s knack for putting pucks into the back of the net and the same cannot be said about Maroon. As of this morning, he has a grand total of 27 career goals whereas the guy from Wingler, Manitoba surpassed the 20-goal plateau on four separate occasions and enjoyed the finest year of his nine-year career with Edmonton in 2009-10 with 32 goals and 63 points. On the flipside of the equation, Maroon is far more likely to throw that big hit or drop the mitts in hopes of “rallying the troops” and that is something which rarely goes unnoticed by this fan base and should not be forgotten.
Craig Button : Don't tell me Maroon is a good player https://t.co/rM8EpSU1Y4
— WET ASS PULJUJARVI (@THEOILLUMINATI) March 5, 2016
Let’s face it, despite having some of the finest players in the history of the game come through Edmonton since 1979, this has always been a city that loves guys who “play the game the right way” and Patrick Maroon has a chance at being one of those guys. While he will never be as good as Dustin Penner, this organization would be over the moon with a guy who puts up 15 goals a season and is a complete pain-in-the-ass to go up against. Depending on the sort of opportunity he gets, that may not be out of the question for Maroon to achieve but by no means is it likely to occur. Consistency is the name of the game and it remains the one thing that continues to plague the Oilers No. 19.
Rob Soria is the Author of Connor McDavid: Hockey’s Next Great One. He has chronicled the Orange and Blue since creating his Oil Drop blog in 2011 and has also had his writings featured over at HometownHockey.ca and Vavel USA, where he has covered the NHL, MLB and ATP Tour. Rob was born, raised and still resides in Edmonton, Alberta and can be reached via twitter @Oil_Drop.