The Big Rig is fitting-in just fine with the Tampa Bay Lightning. In this article I explain why his departure was best for both him and the St. Louis Blues.
Doug Armstrong did a great job bringing the band back together after achieving their first Stanley Cup. Pat Maroon was one of two Stanley Cup champions who did not return to the Blues' roster.
We're 21 games into the 2019-20 season. With a decent chuck under our belt, it's a good time to start evaluating Doug Armstrong's summer moves—or lack thereof.
If you've been reading my blogs since our start in 2015, you know how important I think an offensive leader is to a roster. Especially in the league that's shifting toward speed and skill. Back in 2016 we lost David Backes, Troy Brouwer, and Steve Ott. That was a nightmare.
When I heard the Blues signed Big Rig last summer, I was stoked. We finally had a big-bodied player who could bring physicality and fulfill the offensive leadership role we desperately needed. If I remember correctly, Maroon was the last piece of Armstrong's puzzle that summer.
The rest is history, but history won't be repeating itself this year. Well, not with the same roster, that is.
I'm happy we didn't resign Maroon for a few different reasons.
First, look at it this way... You're Pat Maroon. You come back to your hometown and sign a discounted contract while you recover from an injury. Your team makes the playoffs. You score a double-overtime GWG in a Game 7 elimination game. Then you bring your city their first Stanley Cup in 52 years... On your first try.
Why would you want to taint your St. Louis legacy with a subpar sophomore year? You got the job done and will be forever remembered as a hometown hero. You'll never have to buy a beer in this city again. I think it's best for both the Blues and for Pat that he got a year with his kid and family. But like everyone always says, hockey is a business. Ultimately, Maroon was not on Armstrong's shopping list this season.
Next, let's look at the Justin Faulk trade a little more closely. In addition to Joel Edmundson, the Blues gave-up prospect Dominik Bokk. This shows us how confident our organization is in Klim Kostin and Jordan Kyrou. Kostin had his debut on Saturday and I was impressed with how physical he was. With Maroon gone, there's even MORE internal competition (on top of our injuries). So much competition that Robby Fabbri wanted a trade because he knew he wasn't going to get ice time here. Guys are fighting for spots in the Blues' lineup, and that's always a good thing.
Maroon has scored almost half the amount of goals he scored throughout an entire regular season in St. Louis in the 15 games he's played with the Lightning. He's averaging two shots per game and working hard as a grinder. Tampa was the most skilled team in the league last season. Now they have an offensive leader—something they desperately needed.
Watch out, everybody.
And good luck, Pat! I hope you get another ring... as long as the Blues aren't in your way.