NORMAN BATES

Back in the olden days, NHL teams had “enforcers” and “policemen” who played with skilled men. Now, I’m not talking about the modern enforcer, I’m talking about John Ferguson, or Reggie Fleming or Johnny McKenzie. Here’s a fun way to do this: below are the PIM leaders among forwards for 1971-72, and their goal totals in brackets.

  1. Gary Dornhoefer 183 (17)
  2. Bob Kelly 157 (14)
  3. Vic Hadfield 142 (50)
  4. Johnny McKenzie 126 (22)
  5. Bryan Hextall 126 (20)
  6. Rosaire Paiement 117 (10)
  7. Derek Sanderson 108 (25)
  8. Joey Johnston 107 (15)
  9. Garry Unger 104 (36)
  10. Jim Harrison 104 (19)
  11. Peter Mahovlich 103 (35)
  12. Wayne Cashman 103 (23)

A dozen guys from a 14-team league. Now, not all of these guys were John Ferguson, but if we pulled Unger off the list and added Bobby Clarke you’d have most of the mean streets covered in 1972.

All of the guys on that list could play. All of them. Make a pass, take a pass. The weakest player in the group is Bob Kelly, who was an energy guy the Flyers would send out to hit everything but the anthem singer. Most of these characters didn’t make it with their first team–only Kelly, Sanderson and Cashman got through the minors with their original club and won NHL employment.

Patrick Maroon is a big guy. Massive forward (6.04, 225) has some offensive ability and looks like he might be ready for NHL action at age 24. He went 75, 32-42-74 with Syracuse last season and the Anaheim Ducks may look to him this coming season. My question is this: why wouldn’t the Oilers overpay for a guy who had survived through to the AHL, instead of taking a long shot draft pick and waiting 5 years to find out?

It is such a crazy slot in the order–big, tough, mean prick who can do things around the net and take plus make a pass. Even if you overpay, it’s worth getting a guy who has a good chance to make it. Right?

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27 Responses to "NORMAN BATES"

  1. edwards_daddy says:

    Spot on LT.
    Would the Ducks trade Maroon for the #32 pick? Probably. Would they trade him for Moroz? No way.

  2. DSF says:

    Been following Maroon for a a while.

    Suggesting he has “some offence” is likely an understatement of epic proportions considering he was a PPG and racked up 120 PIM.

    The Ducks also have 6’3″ 210 lb Peter Holland on the way.

    23G 60P in 71GP with Syracuse last season.

  3. Lowetide says:

    DSF: If he were Messier he’d be in the NHL. I think its a mistake to suggest he’s a saviour, clearly the young man has had to work on things (likely consistency, play away from the puck and foot speed). My point isn’t that he’s Jesus, it’s that he could be an effective apostle.

  4. DSF says:

    He doesn’t need to be Jesus.

    A 6’4″ 225 winger with hands, who has 53 goals, 122 points and is +23 over the last two seasons is likely ready to turn water into wine.

    He scored 90 points in 64 games in junior with the Knights so it’s not like he is a one hit wonder.

  5. Jordan says:

    Kevin Lowe already sent away 3 draft picks for Dustin Penner, who was almost that guy for the oilers for two of his 3+ seasons with the team. I still think his best game as an Oiler was one game after MacT had called him out in january of 2009, and he was more ornery than a muslim environmentalist after having supper with Dick Chenney. But he wasn’t “mean” enough consistently for the blood and guts starved Oilers fans who think if you’re more than 6″ tall you need to act like Marty McSorely or you’re not playing up to your potential.

    There’s huge value in both of those players. But there’s the issue – there’s an assumption that if you’re big and skilled, you should also be mean. And because there’s that bigger expectation that they are skilled, fast, big, and mean… it seems to me for larger players it’s usually to that player’s disadvantage. If you can find a way to get past those preconceptions, it would sure do a lot to help get over the obsession of having big skill players who are also “enforcers”. There are very few players who fit that bill, and fewer who have the crazy necessary to really intimidate the other side. The bias against large skill players who don’t play a physically intimidating game (say a Pajaarvi) is really unfortunate – especially in Oil country.

  6. PaperDesigner says:

    I think there’s a deeper philosophical issue. Is there something that this Maroon brings to the table that a 6’0″, 190 pound player with equivalent results doesn’t?

    I’m an end results guy–if you can score twenty goals playing the perimeter, letting your brain do the work and generally do fine in your defensive zone, I’m not really that concerned that you don’t run around like Ryan Jones. If you can do the same thing by bringing a physical element, driving the net, and generally throwing your weight around, fine. That’s a valid style of play. But if the two have identical stats, would I give up more in a trade/contract offer for one than the other? No.

    Let’s say the Oilers were looking at dealing Paajarvi for Maroon–would you do that? I wouldn’t. Since being drafted, Paajarvi has had one good season in a quality pro league, a good NHL rookie season, a bad half-year in the NHL, and good but unspectacular results in the AHL the same year. Maroon looks like a good prospect for sure, but he took until his fourth post-draft season to match Paajarvi’s approximate PPG in the same league from his third post-draft season.

    But Maroon brings more size, and presumably, much more meanness.

    I think Paajarvi’s a better player, though. And I wouldn’t give him up simply because there’s an obsession in the league with words like “toughness”, “size” and “intangibles”. Intangibles are only valuable if they tangibly add up to goals for your team, or fewer from the other.

    In fact, I think you might have an advantage if you consistently seek through free agency and trades players who don’t fit the mold of bringing size and a physical edge. Generally avoid the Ryan Malones and Milan Lucics of the world unless you happen to be the organization that drafts and develops them. Imagine how much it would take to pry Lucic out of Boston.

    I say don’t over-pay, and get guys who get results at the best value for your dollar. I think generally, that means you get smaller skill guys who consistently put up results despite playing in a big league. What frightens me is that although that sounds like the Oilers roster make-up (lots of skilled, not overly big forwards), that doesn’t sound like the verbal that has come out of the management group at times. I think they’ve got the nucleous for a winning team. I think they’re trying to squint really hard until Hartikainen looks like a first line player, and might do something drastic–and stupid–when he turns out to be a bottom six player. Like deal Sam Gagner for Ryan Malone. Or Taylor Hall for Milan Lucic.

  7. Lowetide says:

    Jordan: ALL of the players listed from 71-72 could play. Very few were “big” by 71-72 standards.

  8. VOR says:

    Lowetide, Jordan:

    To some extent I am with DSF on this one.Though he is engaging in a bit of rhetorical excess.
    DSF and I actually often agree on prospects. In any case I really like what Maroon brings.

    I have seen Maroon play three times (twice with London and once in the AHL) and each time he displayed tremendous puck skills but that was in junior and the AHL where you have more space and time and his size was a huge advantage it is hard to know if it translates to the NHL level. He lost his man frequently and only being paired with top D and good linemates prevented him getting torched the last time I saw him. That was at the end of 2010-2011 and maybe he will figure it out, some players do. I understand he was a bit better this past year but still needed top line teammates.

    Maroon also has consistency issues, struggles with weight/fitness and apparently doesn’ t take criticism well. His footspeed is suspect even though it has really improved. I’d say Hartikainen would still win any race for the puck. Maroon hits occasionally, hits savagely hard from time to time, and fights sporadically but really well.

    Downlow Patrick Maroon is a beast with the puck and has amazing hands. With the puck at a near standstill he is an elite NHL player. Setting up between the hash marks where Maroon is dynamite is not Paajarvi’s game and we should not expect it to be. MPS has a totally different set of elite NHL skills focussed around speed and positioning. Both share in common that they like to attack in possession of the puck and both guys back off defenders, though for very different reasons.

    Maroon also has possible problems (if the NHL resumes this year) with players ahead of him on the depth chart blocking his further progress with the Ducks. This is not a player who can handle third or fourth line duties and earn his keep. He doesn’t check well enough for third line ice time and isn’t into the game consistently enough for fourth line duty. Paajarvi has a skill set that would nicely fit the Bob Gainey model and he would be fine as a third or fourth liner. In fact, in many ways Paajarvi reminds me of Danny Cleary at the same age.

    Maroon is often compared to Dustin Penner and some people mean it as a compliment and some as a put down. The thing is, as of this writing it isn’t close. Penner is much stronger, much faster, and is light years better on defence. When Penner is motivated he is a dominant NHL player. When Maroon is motivated he is an above average AHL player. A better comparable would probably be Mark Mancari.

    I’d say the upside on a guy like Maroon or Mancari is that in the right setting they might complement a top line with other superb offensive players who like to dangle in the offensive end. Occasionally that works out really well for an AHL veteran wide body like say Charlie Simmer. Mostly these guys fade into obscurity. So I like Maroon, Mancari too for that matter (he does have 3rd/4th skills) but wouldn’t bet the house on either ever being NHL impact players.

    My interest in them has nothing to do with their size by the way. Mancari has an amazing shot and downlow Maroon is unbelievable. Both guys will also come to the defence of a teammate and make it count .I think skill, heart, and being smart is what separates Stanley Cup champions from other teams and those traits don’t have dick all to do with size. Maroon has two of the three things and could develop the other (smarts).

  9. Lowetide says:

    VOR: What would you give up for him?

  10. DSF says:

    PaperDesigner:
    I think there’s a deeper philosophical issue. Is there something that this Maroon brings to the table that a 6’0″, 190 pound player with equivalent results doesn’t?

    I’m an end results guy–if you can score twenty goals playing the perimeter, letting your brain do the work and generally do fine in your defensive zone, I’m not really that concerned that you don’t run around like Ryan Jones. If you can do the same thing by bringing a physical element, driving the net, and generally throwing your weight around, fine. That’s a valid style of play. But if the two have identical stats, would I give up more in a trade/contract offer for one than the other? No.

    Let’s say the Oilers were looking at dealing Paajarvi for Maroon–would you do that? I wouldn’t. Since being drafted, Paajarvi has had one good season in a quality pro league, a good NHL rookie season, a bad half-year in the NHL, and good but unspectacular results in the AHL the same year. Maroon looks like a good prospect for sure, but he took until his fourth post-draft season to match Paajarvi’s approximate PPG in the same league from his third post-draft season.

    But Maroon brings more size, and presumably, much more meanness.

    I think Paajarvi’s a better player, though. And I wouldn’t give him up simply because there’s an obsession in the league with words like “toughness”, “size” and “intangibles”. Intangibles are only valuable if they tangibly add up to goals for your team, or fewer from the other.

    In fact, I think you might have an advantage if you consistently seek through free agency and trades players who don’t fit the mold of bringing size and a physical edge. Generally avoid the Ryan Malones and Milan Lucics of the world unless you happen to be the organization that drafts and develops them. Imagine how much it would take to pry Lucic out of Boston.

    I say don’t over-pay, and get guys who get results at the best value for your dollar. I think generally, that means you get smaller skill guys who consistently put up results despite playing in a big league. What frightens me is that although that sounds like the Oilers roster make-up (lots of skilled, not overly big forwards), that doesn’t sound like the verbal that has come out of the management group at times. I think they’ve got the nucleous for a winning team. I think they’re trying to squint really hard until Hartikainen looks like a first line player, and might do something drastic–and stupid–when he turns out to be a bottom six player. Like deal Sam Gagner for Ryan Malone. Or Taylor Hall for Milan Lucic.

    Where your argument falls apart is in the “all else being equal” department.

    Thing is, all else isn’t equal.

    While Paajarvi had a decent rookie season, he was also blessed with the second most TOI among Oilers forwards and only managed to produce 15 goals in a miserable losing cause.

    When he wasn’t afforded that kind of TOI and line mates, he fell off a cliff.

    In the the meantime, Maroon was putting up huge numbers in the AHL scoring 23 goals and 54 points as a 20 year old.

    He followed that up with 26 and 32 goal seasons while Paajarvi was struggling in both the NHL and AHL.

    One of these is not like the other.

  11. Lowetide says:

    Yes. TOI. We don’t know the AHL player’s TOI.

  12. DSF says:

    Lowetide:
    Yes. TOI. We don’t know the AHL player’s TOI.

    As a 20 year old, there was a player who scored 47 goals and 93 points +5 for the Houston Aeros of the AHL.

    A year later, he scored 23 goals and 58 points +1 split between the AHL and NHL.

    As a 22 year old, he scored 22 goals and 53 points in the NHL.

    Sounds good, right?

    This player is now playing for HIFK Helsinki after knocking around the NHL and AHL for a couple of years.

    Problem is, he was a perimeter player who refused to get his nose dirty.

    Who am I?

  13. DSF says:

    Patrick O’Sullivan.

  14. Lowetide says:

    Doesn’t change anything. TOI is still an issue, and Johnny McKenzie was a tough bugger despite being 5.09.

  15. DSF says:

    Oh, no doubt, you can also be 6’2″ 220 and be a graceful princess.

  16. jp says:

    DSF: Where your argument falls apart is in the “all else being equal” department.

    Thing is, all else isn’t equal.

    While Paajarvi had a decent rookie season, he was also blessed with the second most TOI among Oilers forwards and only managed to produce 15 goals in a miserable losing cause.

    When he wasn’t afforded that kind of TOI and line mates, he fell off a cliff.

    In the the meantime, Maroon was putting up huge numbers in the AHL scoring 23 goals and 54 points as a 20 year old.

    He followed that up with 26 and 32 goal seasons while Paajarvi was struggling in both the NHL and AHL.

    One of these is not like the other.

    Good God man!! One of these is not like the other??

    Maroon is 3 years older than Paajarvi, both April birthdays. Maroon’s huge 20 yo rookie AHL season (80-23-31-54-62) is equal age-wise to Paajarvi this past year (half struggling in NHL, other half comparable to Maroon in the AHL at the same age). Maroon was doing well in the OHL at age 19, Paajarvi was benefiting from top 9 TOI in the NHL and doing OK (15:23 per game, 7th in TOI per game among Fs who played 40+ games, but I guess 2nd in overall TOI since he stayed healthy).

    In his two subsequent strong AHL seasons Maroon has gotten 2 NHL games. I think VOR nicely enlightened us on some of Maroon’s strengths and weaknesses. Paajarvi has his own strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include blazing speed and strong defensive awareness. He lacks in the physical/engaging/imposing his will department. Paajarvi has also already played at a high level in the SEL, was a top draft pick, and been a top scorer at the World Championships (18-7-9-16 as a 19 and 20 yo). Meanwhile Maroon has gotten barely a sniff of NHL action in 3 pro seasons with a team that has missed the playoffs 2 of 3 years (granted, the Ducks like everyone else, have been much better than the Oilers in this time).

    Indeed one of these is not like the other.

  17. PaperDesigner says:

    DSF: Where your argument falls apart is in the “all else being equal” department.

    Thing is, all else isn’t equal.

    While Paajarvi had a decent rookie season, he was also blessed with the second most TOI among Oilers forwards and only managed to produce 15 goals in a miserable losing cause.

    When he wasn’t afforded that kind of TOI and line mates, he fell off a cliff.

    In the the meantime, Maroon was putting up huge numbers in the AHL scoring 23 goals and 54 points as a 20 year old.

    He followed that up with 26 and 32 goal seasons while Paajarvi was struggling in both the NHL and AHL.

    One of these is not like the other.

    I don’t have much to say, except this. You say that Maroon’s 20 year old season was impressive, and Paajarvi had a bad year in the AHL. Paajarvi’s PPG rate in the AHL last year was higher than Maroon’s in the year you cite as an impressive season.

    I could argue with your other points, but I just want to point out that it’s little “slips” like this that leave me very little interest in actually debating with you. I don’t get the sense that you have any interest in fairness, or at minimum, you can only ever see things that confirm your pre-conceived notions.

  18. PaperDesigner says:

    DSF: As a 20 year old, there was a player who scored 47 goals and 93 points +5 for the Houston Aeros of the AHL.

    A year later, he scored 23 goals and 58 points +1 split between the AHL and NHL.

    As a 22 year old, he scored 22 goals and 53 points in the NHL.

    Sounds good, right?

    This player is now playing for HIFK Helsinki after knocking around the NHL and AHL for a couple of years.

    Problem is, he was a perimeter player who refused to get his nose dirty.

    Who am I?

    Quick point–you’re confusing correlation with causation.

    Okay, I’m done. Maybe there’s someone to talk to at Oilers Nation…

  19. Lois Lowe says:

    @DSF

    This kid seems more Andre Giroux than Max Pacioretty to me. But, I expect that if Maroon amounts to nothing, we’ll never hear you admit that you were wrong. It’s kind of like the way you’re hedging your bets with Minnesota now; most people who can read the internet can see they have good prospect depth, but you’ve abandoned Florida as your metric of choice in that regard.

    As an aside; you live in the lower mainland, right?

    I would like to buy you a beer. I would like to humanize the internet persona that is DSF. I am going to the Barons vs Heat next month, but I am also willing to meet at your leisure. I need to know if this is some kind of extended troll, or if you actually believe anything that you post here.

    Let me know.

  20. Max Powers says:

    Lois Lowe,

    My theory is that DSF is deathly afraid of real life confrontation, that’s why he pursues it so aggressively online. If you get him to show up, please bring a video camera.

  21. tubes says:

    You know who else was a big (6’3, 225lbs+) power forward who put up fairly decent numbers (0.66 ppg avg) in the AHL? JFJ. How’d he fair in the show? Not great. How’s Maroon’s hockey sense? Paajarvi’s is above average IMO as is his defensive awareness. I’m sure you can find a list of guys that were big, power forwards who put up good numbers in the AHL and did nothing in the NHL, just as you’ll find a list of GM’s who will trade you that said player for MPS in a heartbeat.

  22. DSF says:

    jp: Good God man!! One of these is not like the other??

    Maroon is 3 years older than Paajarvi, both April birthdays. Maroon’s huge 20 yo rookie AHL season (80-23-31-54-62) is equal age-wise to Paajarvi this past year (half struggling in NHL, other half comparable to Maroon in the AHL at the same age). Maroon was doing well in the OHL at age 19, Paajarvi was benefiting from top 9 TOI in the NHL and doing OK (15:23 per game, 7th in TOI per game among Fs who played 40+ games, but I guess 2nd in overall TOI since he stayed healthy).

    In his two subsequent strong AHL seasons Maroon has gotten 2 NHL games. I think VOR nicely enlightened us on some of Maroon’s strengths and weaknesses. Paajarvi has his own strengths and weaknesses. The strengths include blazing speed and strong defensive awareness. He lacks in the physical/engaging/imposing his will department. Paajarvi has also already played at a high level in the SEL, was a top draft pick, and been a top scorer at the World Championships (18-7-9-16 as a 19 and 20 yo). Meanwhile Maroon has gotten barely a sniff of NHL action in 3 pro seasons with a team that has missed the playoffs 2 of 3 years (granted, the Ducks like everyone else, have been much better than the Oilers in this time).

    Indeed one of these is not like the other.

    Oh, no doubt…it’s what happens next that counts.

    That Paajarvi was shoe horned into an NHL lineup and afforded big minutes is a testament to the weakness of the team (and injury) more than it is a badge of honour for the player.

    I’ll grant you being picked 10th overall likely earns you extra chances but you would certainly expect additional performance from a 10th overall pick than from a 6th round pick.

    So far, it hasn’t happened.

  23. DSF says:

    Lois Lowe:
    @DSF

    This kid seems more Andre Giroux than Max Pacioretty to me. But, I expect that if Maroon amounts to nothing, we’ll never hear you admit that you were wrong. It’s kind of like the way you’re hedging your bets with Minnesota now; most people who can read the internet can see they have good prospect depth, but you’ve abandoned Florida as your metric of choice in that regard.

    As an aside; you live in the lower mainland, right?

    I would like to buy you a beer. I would like to humanize the internet persona that is DSF. I am going to the Barons vs Heat next month, but I am also willing to meet at your leisure.I need to know if this is some kind of extended troll, or if you actually believe anything that you post here.

    Let me know.

    Actually, I live on Vancouver Island. If you’re ever over here, I’bd be happy to take you up on your offer.

  24. Ducey says:

    Maroon was traded for someone named Rod Bordson and Danny Syvret. He was send home for some kind of (presumably serious) incident while at PHI’s AHL team.

    He has all the tools, but is he going to use them in a productive manner?

  25. Wolfpack says:

    If you ask hockey fans my age (40) who their favourite players were when they were growing up, you will find yourself with a list of great players who could also hit and fight – Messier, Neely, Wendel Clark, Shannahan, Tocchet, Probert, etc. Bob Probert was the most “enforcerish” but he could score as well: 29G 33A 62P 398PIMS in 87/88. WOW. I was a Buchberger fan back in the day and the year he scored 20 goals was sweet vindication for me. :)
    I don’t think it makes me bloodthirsty to wish for that kind of player on my hockey team – a guy who will stand up for his teammates and who can change a game with a goal, hit or a fight. I detest the Flames but it doesn’t mean I don’t respect Iginla for what he has done the last 15 years. I’d love to have a couple of guys like that on my team.

  26. VOR says:

    Lowetide,

    You asked who I’d trade to get Maroon. The answer is Alex Plante, a kid I’ve always loved. It is pretty clear Plante isn’t ever going to be a regular on defence for the Oilers and he has certainly shown he deserves a tciket to ride somewhere in the NHL (as a 7/8 but still in the NHL).

    I wanted to say that the idea that the Syracuse Crunch were terrible is wrong. They didn’t do a good job on defence but they were 4th in scoring in the AHL far ahead of Oklahoma. Maroon’s stats are probably a little inflated as result.

    I am consistent in my belief that the Oilers need more heart and soul guys regardless of size and I think Maroon could be one. I wanted us to go after Daniel Winnick and Cody McLeod in free agency this year. McLeod is a guy who can fight and will but who is at his best as a forechecker on a 3rd line with some skill. I think we need something like Detroit’s famous Grind Line and neither Maltby nor Draper were huge men. From what I have seen of them Winnick and McLeod both seemed like forechecking demons.

    My interest in Maroon is that he is also excellent (for an AHL player) on the forecheck. I always find it hard to project these guys into the NHL. Defencemen in the AHL generally aren’t lacking in skill (some are too small – Chorney), some are too slow (PLante) but the best AHL defencemen play the game well enough to be in the NHL. So a guy like Maroon plays against small and slow D. Then he comes to the AHL and his strength advantage decreases and his speed disadvantage increases and maybe he can’t compete. On the other hand maybe he adjusts to gets stronger and faster and is Charlie Simmer. How do you know which?

  27. dawgbone says:

    I pretty much agree with your question about why draft one of these guys and wait 5 years to see if they pan out?

    If I need some size in my lineup, there’s guys all over the place that can step into the NHL at replacement level and give that to you. Drafting a guy because he’s big because your current team is undersized makes absolutely no sense.

    This is why the Moroz and Ewanyk picks irked me so much. Ewanyk because there was some identifiable skill still available (his teammate St Croix for instance). At best Ewanyk was going to be a 3rd liner and while there is some value in that, you can add an NHL ready version of that player for the cost of the same draft pick. Moroz was another pick where they need significant progress just to catch up to their peers.

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