When the Anaheim Ducks dealt Danny Syvret and Rob Bordson to the Philadelphia Flyers in November of 2010, it appeared little more than an AHL depth deal. After all, Syvret had been signed as a free agent by Anaheim in the offseason and appeared in all of six games with the big club the 2010-11 season, and Bordson had just finished his junior year at University of Minnesota-Duluth the previous season and played 15 games with the Syracuse Crunch.
One of the return pieces, David Laliberte, had played 11 games with the Flyers the season prior but was mainly an AHL player having put up 49 goals in 169 games with the Philadelphia/Adirondack Phantoms over the previous three seasons. The other was Patrick Maroon, a former 35 goal scorer in his one OHL season with the London Knights that turned it into an opportunity with the Phantoms. From 11-12 on he'd earn off and on chances with the Ducks, in the meanwhile putting up 21 and 32 goal seasons with the Crunch and a 26 goal effort with the Norfolk Admirals. That earned him his full time call up to the Ducks for the 13-14 season, and he's been a lineup regular ever since.
Maroon opened the year with assists in the first three games of the season before being injured on a low hip check along the boards at his knee by Buffalo Sabres defenseman Josh Gorges on October 13. He wouldn't return to the lineup until Halloween night against Dallas, but promptly recorded an assist the following game at Colorado. He scored his first goal of the season on November 23 against Arizona, the eventual game winner against the Coyotes as the Ducks held on for a 2-1 win in Maroon's first of six multi-point nights on the season as he also assisted on Kyle Palmieri's tally.
Maroon also collected a goal and an assist against the Flyers and Devils, and had two assist nights at Los Angeles (right after collecting two points the night prior against New Jersey), at Calgary, and versus Nashville. The back-to-back two point nights were part of his finest run of play of the season, as Maroon scored in three consecutive games from January 21-29, and in the span of eight games from January 11 against Winnipeg to January 30 versus Chicago put up nine points on four goals and five assists. He put up six points over the Ducks final 10 regular season games, but was scoreless in the last three heading in to the playoffs.
Come postseason Maroon chalked up points in 11 of the Ducks 16 games, putting up a goal and two assists against the Jets, three goals and an assist against the Flames, and three goals and an assist against the Blackhawks. He was credited with the game-winner in Anaheim's game one demolition of Calgary, and scored in games three, five, and six against Chicago.
Maroon is an interesting proposition for the Ducks, as he's clearly demonstrated a scorer's touch in both Major Junior and the AHL but has yet to translate that prowess over the course of a full 82 game season, though having a breakout type playoff last year. His big, burly frame seems ideally suited for playing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry's cycling style, but only put up 22 goals in his first 148 regular season NHL games. Possession-wise he's been above 52.0 shot attempts percentage at even strength each of his two full years in the league, and that rockets up to better than 58.6 SAT% when looking at all circumstance play. Clearly he's a positive for the lineup, but the question is where is he best utilized?
Some have wondered whether the Ducks could do better than Maroon on the top line with Getzlaf and Perry. According to Puckalytics WOWY (with or without you) numbers for this past year, the trio were on ice for 263:22 at even strength and scored at a rate of 3.42 goals/60 min and had a 54.4 SAT%, while notching a 57.7 goals for percentage. In the 484:05 at five-on-five with Getzlaf and Perry together but Maroon not on the ice that rate dips to 2.97 G/60, and the SAT% slumps to 49.5 with GF% dipping to 54.5. Maroon positively impacts both Getzlaf and Perry on the top line, and that's good knowledge to have in the back pocket as a fail safe as one can imagine Chris Stewart and perhaps Carl Hagelin may get looks with the top line this season to try and increase the top line's production even more.
Though yet to have a breakout goal scoring regular season at the NHL level, Maroon is a valuable player with his physical style and ability to help positively effect play. He'll turn 28 in April, and under contract at a reasonable $2.0 mil. AAV through the 17-18 season means it won't be a major financial hinderance if he plays lower down the lineup. Still, for a versatile big body that's put up better than 2.1 points/60 min. scoring rates in all circumstances his two full seasons in the league, the 'Big Dog' figures to keep eating in Anaheim.