Let’s flashback to the 2018 NHL trade deadline. My New Jersey Devils were about to break a six-year-long playoff drought with their first appearance since a loss to the 2012 Stanley Cup final.
I was so excited to see where the likes of Taylor Hall, Kyle Palmieri, and newly acquired Michael Grabner would lead us! Spoiler alert, it was to nowhere.
Right before that deadline, I remember my iPhone 5 (yeah, I didn’t keep up with the latest technology) getting the notification that the Devils had traded for Patrick Maroon from the Edmonton Oilers.
The player who once scored 27 goals skating alongside Connor McDavid was certain to be a great depth addition. Then again, he was no Taylor Hall.
Which team will be best remembered for having Patrick Maroon on their roster?
Fast forward five years and what has Maroon done? His days in Jersey ended after that season and he’s on his third team since then with the Minnesota Wild.
Oh, did we forget to mention he made four straight Stanley Cup Final appearances with three straight wins between the St. Louis Blues and Tampa Bay Lightning?
Maroon will never win a Hart Trophy, have a plaque in Toronto, and most likely won’t have his jersey hang in the rafters. He’s still accomplished a lot, so where will his legacy be most celebrated once he hangs up his skates?
The two obvious choices are the St. Louis Blues and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Let’s start with the Blues. They were his hometown team he grew up rooting for as a kid.
He turned down other offers, including re-signing with the Devils, to go to St. Louis. In the post-Cup celebrations, his son loudly and proudly exclaimed they were bringing the cup to his old neighborhood.
As if that wasn’t dramatic enough, this was the famous 2018-2019 St. Louis team that rode a brilliant run of Jordan Binnington goaltending to go from worst to first in the NHL. The Blues even immortalized “Big Rig” as his own bobblehead that season.
As Hollywood-sounding as his time in St. Louis was, it was also short-lived and only a single season. More team accomplishments followed to Tampa Bay.
Maroon was on every winner and every conference winner (with the exception of the 2015 team that lost to the Chicago Blackhawks) for this current Tampa Bay Lightning mini-dynasty.
More importantly, Tampa Bay is where he became a folk hero. The “kid from St. Louis who won a cup with the Blues” story was cool and all but Maroon really had his coming out party as a hockey personality with the Lightning.
To a lesser level, and to borrow an analogy from a fellow Tampa Bay sports franchise, Maroon was becoming the Gronk to Steven Stamkos’s Tom Brady. None of this discounted, or made anyone forget, that Maroon was the perfect role player for those Tampa teams.
The puck has yet to officially drop on the 2023-2024 NHL season. It’s unlikely that Maroon has the same team success (multiple Stanley Cups) in the state of hockey that he saw in Tampa Bay. Even if he has more rings with the Lightning logo on it, Maroon will always be that kid from St. Louis.