One of the hardest parts about any off-season is watching hometown heroes move on, for whatever the reason. The Cardinals had to let World Series champion David Freese leave in 2013, after all. Freese may be gone but he still will never have to buy another drink in this town as long as he lives.
Freese had a couple of years’ removal from his game six dinger. Pat Maroon just won the Cup with the Blues two months ago and maintained lines of communication with Doug Armstrong throughout free agency, but the writing was on the wall.
The team and Armstrong still has to work out a deal with Ivan Barbashev, who wants and deserves a raise. No one is getting dealt right now, so the Blues have almost $10 locked up in two goaltenders. There isn’t any wiggle room.
He of the toasted ravioli in the chalice of the Cup is gone. Trips to the downtown Gitto’s will have to wait for the All-Star break. Pat Maroon is a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
This is a good deal for Maroon. Sure, it’s a paycut down to $900,000. On the other hand, it’s a paycut to pay with the team that had the best record in the NHL last season and a group of players who are expected to come roaring out of the gate in October. There is no way that the Bolts get swept out of the playoffs this year (please someone hold me accountable later when they do). Maroon will be a valuable third line addition for them.
Also, the travel in the Eastern Conference is much better, leaving a bit easier of a schedule to get home to family during the bye week and other breaks. The Blues will only have to see him once during the regular season, which will make that tribute video even sweeter.
It’s also worth reminding people - not to be a buzzkill - that Maroon flirted with being either dealt or sent to the AHL for the first half of the season. He, like the rest of the team, regained his focus as the season progressed, but the Blues have more room to work with a young player trying to figure stuff out than they do with an older player trying to find his game.
Pat Maroon’s still a hometown hero. He’ll never buy a beer in this city again, but just like David Freese, it’s time to thank him for what he did for St. Louis and wish him luck in the future.
It’s not like he won’t be back.