It seems that unrestricted free agent Patrick Maroon has finally made his choice and given the deal he has signed it seems like a chance to win a championship may have played a major factor in his decision.
According to a breaking news report from the National Hockey League Network on Siruis/XM Satellite radio the St. Louis Blues have officially signed the veteran forward to a brand new contract. The deal is believed to be just a one year contract that will pay Maroon a respectable $1.7 million over the term of the deal. Given that the contract is only one year his average annual value and cap hit will be an identical $1.7 million as well.
The news comes as somewhat of a surprise given that there was believed to be a healthy amount of competition on the open market for Maroon's services, and many had expected that the competition for his services would drive up the value of the contract he would receive. This not only result in him getting significantly less term that he did on his previous deal, Maroon had 3 years on his last deal, and significantly less money as well than on his last deal, Maroon was previously earning $2 million per season on that deal. This seems to indicate that Maroon took a cut in terms of both his salary and the term of his deal in order to sign on with the Blues organization.
It's unclear if the motivation for Maroon here stems from the fact that he believes the Blues will be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender next season or if perhaps there is another motivating factor at play. Again this deal indicates a step back in pay and term for Maroon which makes me wonder if the offers he received on the open market were not reflective of the strong offensive performance he had during his time as a member of the Edmonton Ouilers roster. If that is indeed the case the 30 year old veteran may also be viewing this as a way to gamble on himself moving forward, a strong performance with the Blues during the 2018 - 2019 season could result in him cementing himself as a more solid offensive threat and could then lead to him getting a better deal next summer.
Maroon appeared in a total of 74 regular season games last season and he recorded 17 goals as well as 26 assists for a total of 43 points during his time with the Oilers as well as with the New Jersey Devils following a trade at the 2018 National Hockey League trade deadline. Maroon however isn't just an offensive talent on the wing, he also brings his brand of physical play to the line up and that will provide additional value to a Blues team that has never really replaced veteran Ryan Reaves since his departure from the organization.
Maroon has also shown a willingness to drop the gloves throughout his career and although fighting is becoming less and less common at the NHL level there's something to be said about having a guy who can fight for you in your lineup.
Update: Andy Strickland reports that Maroon did indeed leave money on the table to bet on himself.
Photo Credit: Zhao Hanrong/Xinhua/Zuma