The Wild didn’t add the veteran forward they desired on Saturday during the first day of NHL free agency, but they did acquire that player in a trade before the weekend ended.
Three-time Stanley Cup champion Pat Maron joined the Wild on Sunday from Tampa Bay, along with minor league player Max Kajkovic, in exchange for a seventh-round pick in 2024.
With the Lightning keeping 20% of Maroon’s contract, which expires after next season, the Wild are the hook for just $800,000, which is exactly how much general manager Bill Guerin said the team had to spend after a quiet start to free agency. On Saturday, center Vinny Leteri and Jake Lucini signed bilateral contracts.
The rest of the Wild’s salary cap space is reserved for their restricted free agents, with goalkeeper Philip Gustafsson, forward Brandon Duhemey and defender Caline Addison all needing new deals.
Maroon is coming off a five-goal, nine-assist season with Tampa Bay where he recorded a league-high 150 penalty minutes in 80 games.
A native of St. Louis, the 6-foot-3, 235-pound left winger has been in the NHL for 12 seasons, a career that includes stints with Anaheim, Edmonton, New Jersey, and St. Louis. – Stanley Cup appearances with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. Maroon was also with the Blues in 2019 when they clinched the trophy. He became the first player in the NHL expansion era to win the Stanley Cup in three consecutive seasons with different teams.
Overall, the 35-year-old scored 117 goals and 171 assists for 288 points over 729 career games after being drafted by Philadelphia in the sixth round (#161) in 2007. In 150 playoff games, Maroon scored 23 goals and 28 assists. .
As for Kikovich, 22, he has played the last two seasons in the NFL and the American Hockey League, scoring 21 goals and recording 24 assists.
Slovakia’s Kajković was drafted in the third round by Tampa Bay in 2019.
Not only does Maroon bring the experience the Wild were looking for to round out their front set, but he also has an energy factor-trait that makes up for the loss of Ryan Reaves, a gritty fourth lineman who signed a free agent contract with Toronto after one season with the Wild.
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