It’s hard to imagine a professional prospect that doesn’t have at least a stub on Wikipedia. That may be the story of Patrick Maroon’s life though as a big power forward out of St. Louis, Missouri with the hands of a future highlight reel NHLer. There’s not much hockey in Missouri of course and even less in the way of future professional hockey players. In a world dominated by Minnesota, Michigan, and the North Eastern United States, Maroon stands out a kid who is doing everything he can to make it to the NHL.
Now at 6’4, 225 lbs. Maroon has become a legitimate weapon with the Flyers’ AHL affiliate Phantoms, and through the 2008-09 season earned himself shot up the rookie score leaders chart finishing sixth with 23 goals and 31 assists in 80 games. He would also finish fourth on the Phantoms roster at the end of the regular season and tied for first in the postseason. It wasn’t too long ago though that this blossoming power forward was a 6’3, 250 lbs. bull charging his way up and down the ice in the NAHL.
Maroon always brought a physical presence to the ice when he was 16 and 17 playing for the Bandits in the triple-A league, but after his solid debut season was criticized for his habits and conditioning. It was thanks to two scouts that he finally got his conditioning straight came into his second season with the bandits to dominate the competition. The 35 lbs he dropped going into the 2006-07 season turned into improved skating and conditioning. He jumped from 23 goals to 40 and 37 assists to 55 in one offseason. It was from there that he finished his high school career and thought about college. Things changed quickly for Maroon though who was, thanks to all of his effort the previous offseason, drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round of the 2007 draft. The first step was accomplished. While many speculated he would be drafted by his hometown St. Louis Blues, the board fell to Philadelphia who scooped him up as a long shot prospect with plenty of potential.
The 18-year-old Maroon had finally made it into an organization, but if he thought the hard part was getting down to a weight where he could dominate the competition in the triple-A league he was in for an awakening. Before getting drafted he had already committed to Ferris State in the NCAA, but with his new found position with the Flyers’ organization he began to think hard about his future as a hockey player. That forced him to change his decision from the NCAA to the London Knights of the OHL. Things changed even more when he came out and dominated the OHL competition finishing first among rookies, tied for thirteenth among forwards, and first on his own team, the London Knights, with 35 goals and 55 assists for only five less points than his previous breakout season with the NAHL.
It was after his stunning 2007-08 season in the OHL that the Flyers took a much larger interest in their sixth round draft pick from only a year before. They moved him immediately to the Philadelphia Phantoms to develop his skills even more, and it has turned out well for both Maroon and the organization.
After his solid but somewhat disappointing season with the Bandits in the NAHL back in 2005-06 there were two scouts that told him he could make something of himself in the game of hockey. He had never realized before what potential he had since no one ever helped him along to become the great player that he is today until they stepped in.
Today the 21-year-old Maroon has been moved every season he has played hockey. The Bandits were originally Texarkana before moving to Maroon’s hometown of St. Louis in 2006-07. He then of course traveled to the OHL with the London Knights and finally found himself with the Phantoms for 2008-09. The next move up to the NHL may be the hardest one yet for the young power forward. Since he will be on the move once again with the Phantoms when they decide on a new city to call home this offseason he’s not worried about the NHL just yet. He has plenty of time to work his way there while no one except the Flyers’ organization and fans pay close attention.
He still has to work on skating but there’s no question of what he can do in front of the net or along the boards. He has both the ability to finish and help others by setting them up with passes. He has much the same skill set as Mike Knuble who is 36 but is trying to work out new contract with the Flyers. Eventually the goal for Maroon would be to replace Knuble as that man in front of the net who can bang the junk home. If he continues to emerge at this pace there will be no question that the Flyers will have to look at him. It may not be this offseason, but as a kid who never knew what he could become with a little bit of effort, the NHL is worth the wait.