A different perspective
Former Ducks forward Maroon on the other side of a Game 7 with Oilers
Patrick Maroon would like nothing more than to extend his former team’s Game 7 woes another year.
The Anaheim Ducks traded Maroon to the Edmonton Oilers at the 2016 trade deadline for a fourth-round draft pick and a prospect.
The Ducks even swallowed a quarter of his cap hit for two seasons to send him out the door, according to CapFriendly.com.
The 29-year-old winger doesn’t regret landing in Edmonton, but when the only NHL team you’ve played for says your services are no longer required, there’s an element of “I’ll show you” when you face it in a high-stakes game.
And the stakes are stratospheric tonight in Anaheim, where the winner advances to the NHL’s Western Conference final against the Nashville Predators.
“This would be a good feeling for me,” Maroon said Tuesday in Edmonton.
“I don’t know how to say it in a good way, but this would be ... it would (mean) nothing more than to win this Game 7. I would love this right now.”
The Ducks were eliminated from the playoffs each of the last four years by losing a Game 7 at home.
Maroon felt that disappointment in 2015, when Anaheim was ousted in the conference final by the Chicago Blackhawks, and in 2014 when they were beaten in the second round by Los Angeles.
“I got traded from a team that was first in the division last year and a contender for the Stanley Cup,” Maroon said.
“When you go from losing one game to go to the Stanley Cup finals to being traded the following year it’s kind of devastating. That’s part of the business. You never know when you’re safe, you never know when it’s your time to go.”
The six-foot-three, 227-pound left-winger isn’t complaining about where he went. He played more minutes in Edmonton where he posted career numbers of 27 goals and 15 assists in 81 games.
He’s playing on the top line alongside centre and captain Connor McDavid. In six playoff games against his former team, Maroon has two goals and five assists.
Edmonton general manager Peter Chiarelli and head coach Todd McLellan “gave me an opportunity to excel my game and gave me an opportunity to play with some of the best players and play a consistent role,” Maroon said.
The secret to handling a Game 7 is to stay calm and enjoy it, Maroon said.
“This will probably be some of the biggest games some of these guys played,” he said. “Obviously there’s going to be nerves, but don’t panic.
“There’s nothing better than going into a Game 7, the excitement and what’s at stake.”
Given the success of splitting up McDavid and winger Leon Draisaitl in Sunday’s 7-1 win,
expect the Oilers to continue with Draisaitl centring Edmonton’s second line.
The 21-year-old German scored a hat trick and assisted on two goals Sunday for a total of five goals and eight assists against the Ducks this series.
That move also shifts centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and winger Jordan Eberle to Edmonton’s third line, where McLellan has a better chance of keeping them away from Anaheim’s best checkers.
Both players have yet to score in the post-season.
“It’s those third and fourth lines that can make a huge difference in a game like this and we’ll be looking to ours to have an impact,” McLellan said.
Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon celebrates after scoring against the Anaheim Ducks during Game 2 of a second-round NHL Stanley Cup playoff series in Anaheim, Calif. on April 28.