Wild didn’t add the coveted veteran forward to Saturday’s opening day of NHL free agency, but acquired the player in a trade before the end of the weekend.
Three-time Stanley Cup champion Pat Maroon joined the Wild from Tampa Bay on Sunday alongside minor leaguer Max Kajikovic in exchange for a 2024 seventh-round pick.
With the Lightning holding 20% of his contract with the Maroons, which expires next season, Wild is snagged at just $800,000, which is exactly what general manager Bill Guerin said was a quiet start to free agency. The same amount the team had to spend later. The team signed center Vini Lettieri and Jake Lucchini to two-way deals on Saturday.
The rest of Wild’s salary cap slots are reserved for restricted free agency, with goaltender Philip Gustafson, forward Brandon Duhaim and defenseman Karen Addison in need of new deals.
The Maroons finished the season with five goals and nine assists in Tampa Bay and a league-high 150 penalty times in 80 games.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound left wing from St. Louis spent 12 seasons in the NHL, including plays in Anaheim, Edmonton, New Jersey and St. Louis before winning back-to-back titles. He appeared in the Stanley Cup with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. Maroon won the Cup with the Blues in 2019. He became the first player in the NHL expansion era to win three consecutive Stanley Cups with different teams.
Overall, the 35-year-old has scored 288 points with 117 goals and 171 assists in 729 career games since being drafted in the sixth round (161st) by Philadelphia in 2007. He played 150 games in the playoffs, scoring 23 goals and assisting 28. .
As for Kajikovic, 22, he has played in the ECHL and the American Hockey League the last two seasons, scoring 21 goals and providing 24 assists.
Kajkovic, a Slovak, was a third-round pick by Tampa Bay in 2019.
The Maroons not only bring the experience Wild was looking to complement his forward group, but also the energy factor, a quality that makes up for the loss of gritty fourth hitter Ryan Reeves, who signed a free agency deal. . Toronto finished one season in the Wild.