Every season in Anaheim begins with the same question – who can become the winger consistent enough to play with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry?
Patrick Maroon may be the answer.
The rugged left wing continued to improve in his second full season, posting nine goals, 25 assists and 34 points. Both his assist and point totals were career highs for Maroon, who also saw his penalty minutes drop from 101 in 2013-14 to 82 last season. These improvements came despite an eight-game absence with an MCL sprain early in the season.
Maroon’s ability as a passer is often overlooked. He posted 14 first assists last season at even strength, second only to Getzlaf (21). He was equally lethal on the power play, tying Hampus Lindholm for second on the team with four first assists.
With a hulking 6-2, 231-pound frame, Maroon easily bodies opponents behind the net. It’s what makes these plays possible:
It’s also a style proven to work with The Twins.
Getzlaf and Maroon combined to post a 55.4 Corsi-for percentage (the total of shots on net, blocked shots and missed shots) at just over 400 minutes of even strength. They also averaged 3.30 goals-for per 60 while limiting opponents to a sub-50 percent Corsi.
Maroon had a similar effect with Perry. In almost 290 minutes together at even strength, the two averaged almost four goals-for per 60 while posting a 53.5 Corsi-for percentage.
Apart from Maroon at even strength, both Perry and Getzlaf saw a decline in play, especially in Corsi-for percentage. The two slipped under 50 percent, with Getzlaf seeing a six-point drop.
Maroon’s physical play – and sweet hands – make him a natural fit with the top line.
“I have pretty good hands down low, below the top of the circles, and I just go to the front of the net,” he said during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. “That creates so much space for those two, me just creating havoc in front, making the goalie frustrated, and especially for their D-man, too.”
Maroon put those words on display against Calgary:
He was one of the most consistent forwards in the postseason, collecting 11 points (7g/4a) in 16 games. Maroon finished tied for third in goals and power-play points (3-1=4) and co-led the Ducks in power-play goals. He also took just three minor penalties after totaling 38 penalty minutes in the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
If he remains consistent, 'Big Rig' could end the long-term search for a top-line left wing.
“When you’ve only been in this League for a little over two years, the consistency sometimes isn’t there,” Ducks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau said during the postseason. “That’s the only thing that’s plagued him through the course of the year. When he’s on top of his game, he’s a big force of us.”
Maroon developed a knack for the “dirty goal,” and his goal in Game 2 of the First Round against the Winnipeg Jets keyed yet another Ducks comeback victory.
Anaheim trailed, 1-0, in the third period when Andrew Ladd sat for high-sticking. Cam Fowler took full advantage, driving a one-timer from the point on net. The puck hit Maroon, parked in front, and fluttered over Ondrej Pavelec’s shoulder to tie the game with 9:17 remaining in regulation.
Jakob Silfverberg secured the win, scoring the game-winning goal with 21 seconds left in regulation.