For every elite point producer atop of the depth chart, there is a role/energy player to fill out the bottom of the lineup. There is such a correlation between the two that the actual term to describe the two is split ‘50/50’ – top-six and bottom-six.
Most players are so good at what they do in their roles that you would think they accepted such roles in development and became good at it through years and years of playing the way the play now.
But what if I told you that even role players such as Maxime Talbot (Colorado Avalanche), Jay McClement (Toronto Maple Leafs) and even George Parros (former Anaheim Duck, now Montreal Canadians) were once point producers?
Talbot scored 46-goals and over 100-points with the Hull Olympiques of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League before settling into a role as a third/fourth line checking forward in the NHL, whose work in that role played a major part in the Pittsburgh Penguins winning the Stanley Cup in 2009.
Widely considered one of the top defensive forwards in the game, McClement scored 20-goals three times – one a 30-goal campaign – during his time in the Ontario Hockey League. He has yet to score 20-goals at any professional level, and has only topped ten goals three times in the NHL.
Ducks’ fans know how Parros made his mark in the league, but he also scored 20-goals in his three year career at Princeton after scoring 30 in one season in the North American Hockey League.
At some point or another, just about any player was a scorer. Scoring goals is the easiest way to get noticed, plain and simple. It certainly got Patrick Maroon noticed by the Anaheim Ducks, who traded for him in 2010.
Maroon scored 35-goals and 90-points in 64-OHL games, and has topped 20-goals in the American Hockey League four times – one a 30-goal year – but at 25, has yet to establish himself in the NHL as nothing more than a fourth line energy player.
At 6’4 and with the willingness to drop the gloves (team leading seven fights after his scrap tonight) he fits the mold of an energy player to a ‘T’. But one look at his AHL stat sheet and it makes you wonder ‘what happened to the offense’?
While it is true that some players offense doesn’t translate from one stage to the next – it is usually the reason behind players being forced to learn to roles, a player like Maroon who has the size and obvious skill – it is somewhat curious as to why won’t translate.
Call it a lack of an opportunity (all though he has seen time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry), or whatever else you want, three goals in 27-games is a tad underwhelming for someone who scored 32 in 75 games at the AHL level.
But tonight’s game you saw a glimpse into the skill set of Maroon, and also a small glimpse in why the New York Rangers could be eyeing him in the potential Dan Girardi trade. Maroon was the primary assist on the Selanne power play goal, in which he turned in front of the net, showing great hands in dishing it to Selanne who was wide open at the circle and fired the puck in.
The Selanne goal turned out to be the game winner.
At 25-years old, the odds are stacked against Maroon ever becoming at 20-goal scorer at the NHL level – but it isn’t impossible. Championships aren’t won solely by star players, as some times it is the depth players that you have (ask Talbot, he scored both Penguins goals in game-seven of the Stanley Cup Final) and games like today make you realize just how deep the Ducks truly are.
It is amazing to see what Ryan Suter is doing with the Minnesota Wild playing nearly half the game a night – but Maroon shows that sometimes it isn’t the amount of minutes you play, but the quality you put behind those minutes.
Don’t be shocked if those eight minutes he played tonight extends to over ten during the Ducks’ weekend set of games.