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Maroon putting in work to stay on Oilers' top line

Physical presence could again help McDavid, Draisaitl put up big numbers this season

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

HAZELWOOD, Mo. -- Edmonton Oilers left wing Patrick Maroon has his focus set solely on what he can accomplish this season, which he hopes includes staying on the top line alongside center Connor McDavid and right wing Leon Draisaitl.

Maroon, 29, set NHL career highs for goals (27) and points (42) last season.

The Oilers signed McDavid to an eight-year, $100 million contract extension ($12.5 million average annual value) on July 5 that begins next season, and Draisaitl, a restricted free agent, got an eight-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million average annual value) on Aug. 16.

Maroon (6-foot-3, 227 pounds) is insurance, in a way, for those two huge contracts. He supplies a physical element that creates time and space, along with a scoring touch to complete the package.

Video: EDM@ANA, Gm2: Maroon tallies PPG off his skate

"Obviously without those two I wouldn't have the success I did, but sometimes you've got to give yourself some credit too," Maroon, a St. Louis native, said recently after a workout at the St. Louis Blues practice facility. "Those two are very tremendous players, and for me I've just got to keep doing what I'm doing to stay with them.

"Obviously [Oilers coach] Todd McLellan had a really big part in that. He gave me an opportunity to play with those two. For me, I've just got to continue what I did last year, come [to training camp] in really good shape again, and hopefully good things fall into place again."

Maroon said though McDavid, who led the NHL in assists (70) and points (100) in 82 games last season, deservedly gets the credit bestowed upon him, fans and opponents need to pay attention to Draisaitl, who was eighth in the League with 77 points (29 goals, 48 assists) in 82 games. 

"Playing with Connor and Leon Draisaitl last year, a lot of people don't give Leon enough credit because there's always Connor there," Maroon said. "But I think with both of them together really helped me out last year. They obviously see things that certain players don't see. So for me, I think I was trying to do my part, be big and strong, go to the net hard and hoping for them to find me and hopefully clean up the mess if they got a shot or whatever."

Video: SJS@EDM, Gm5: Maroon nets rebound for opening tally

There's plenty of optimism that the Oilers can build on what they accomplished last season, including their first berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2006, a run that ended with a loss to the Anaheim Ducks in Game 7 of the Western Conference Second Round.

"I think for us, we can't expect to just do it again," Maroon said. "We've got to start out of the gate hot and play how we're capable of playing and go into the season with confidence and a swagger that we are a good hockey team.

"I think everyone's excited to get this season started. Last year was a tough fall to Anaheim, but we've bounced and we came a long way. It was a proud moment not only for the organization but the players to see how far we came from the year before to doing that. I think the guys are really excited and anxious to get the season started. We know what we're capable of and we know what we have to do to make the playoffs again."

Maroon is entering the final season of a three-year, $6 million contract ($2 million average annual value) he signed Aug. 2, 2014. He can become an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2018, but his focus for now is on helping Edmonton win the Stanley Cup for the first time since 1990.

"That's been my lifetime goal since I was a little kid," he said. "I think Edmonton has a chance to do that. I want to play wherever I can win. It's not about anything else, but I just want to go out there.

"I love Edmonton, I love the city, I love the fans. If I can keep playing in that jersey for the next few years, I would love to do it."

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