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Pat Maroon Goal of the Year

Courtesy of the Tampa Bay Lightning via Twitter

We’re finally getting around to reviewing the 2022-23 season. Instead of assigning grades or any of that nonsense, we’ll start by looking at the player’s best goal from the season and go from there. For some it’ll be easy, others have way more to choose from.

Player:

Pat Maroon

Stat Line:

Reg Season – 80 games played, 5 goals, 9 assists, 150 PIM, 62 shots, 9.4 iXG, 172 hits

Playoffs – 6 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 16 PIM, 3 shots, 0.32 iXG, 13 hits

Goal of the Year Video:

Maroon scores tip-in goal
Pat Maroon gets a piece of Victor Hedman’s shot for a tip-in goal that ties the game 1-1 in the 1st period

Goal of the Year Description:

All of Maroon’s goals this season were unsurprisingly finding garbage in front of the net and putting it in the landfill except for his first goal of the season back in December against Florida. Four of Maroon’s goals were rebounds or tips in front of the net, the Goal of the Year being the best of the bunch.

In this goal, Colton dumped the puck into the Chicago zone. Both Maroon and Paul rubbed out their defenders, allowing the puck to go all the way to the point where Hedman’s point shot perfectly connected with Maroon four feet from the net. Maroon did a good job of making the play in the corner and then quietly heading to the far post. Rookie defender Isaak Phillips didn’t catch Maroon until it was too late and all he could do was turn around and watch the puck go in.

How did the 2022-23 season go for them?

Based on his xG, Maroon could’ve had nine goals this season if the bounces around the net with him in front went right. To be a net front guy in the bottom six can be fickle because you get so fewer chances for the law of averages to play out. A few bad bounces and not enough icetime to make it up can end up giving a fourth liner a bad reputation.

Maroon spent lots of the year on the fourth line with Bellemare and Perry, but ended up spending most of his time on the third line with Colton and Paul as that net front guy. It wasn’t the most ideal spot to have a guy like Maroon – and I think he and Colton have the makings of a good fourth line – but he made it work this season. Despite being out-shot, that line out-paced their expected goals to give the Lightning some depth through the middle of the season.

In the playoffs, Maroon did what you’d expect, which is disrupt the play of the other team by creating special teams, slowing the game down with hits and grinding play along the boards, and being a nuisance in front of the net whenever he got there. This was effective against a Leafs team that liked to find a rhythm at 5v5 over long stretches of the game. You can see in his impacts how few shots are taken on both sides when Maroon in on the ice, which lends to his low-event, defensive ability.

2023-24 Contract Status:

Maroon is under contract with the Lightning for one more year at $1 million where you can expect he’ll do much of the same on the wing of the third and fourth lines. While Paul and Colton are likely staying, it might not be the same for Maroon’s fellow School Bus linemates, Perry and Bellemare, as the other two are UFAs. Bellemare has indicated he doesn’t know what the future holds in Tampa but that he’s chasing his first ring, while Perry is possibly retiring.

Do we expect them to score more or less next season?

I wouldn’t be surprised if Maroon scored a bit more next season, depending on who he’s with. If the Lightning are able to add some speed and playmaking to the bottom six (I would bring up Jonathan Drouin if that didn’t cause this whole state to both laugh and scream, I promise this is the first and last time I’ll mention him), then it would lead to more play in the offensive zone around Maroon and potentially more plays to the front of the net.

Maroon was hilariously good with a player who provides those things in Anthony Cirelli, including his two-goal game against the Washington Capitals. If the Lightning could find more of Cirelli’s speed, tenacity, and puck skills in their bottom six, at the right price, it would go a long way to making the supporting cast more productive. There are talented players who just need their advantages exploited a little more consistently.

Let’s see what free agency brings and what the Lightning’s bottom six will look like around Maroon and Paul.

Maroon scores goal
Pat Maroon scores against the Washington Capitals to make it 3-1

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