The last time Patrick Maroon was recalled to Anaheim, he did not see any playing time. This time, he is likely to be on the ice and in the line up while the Ducks are on a seven game road trip.
Maroon joined the Ducks in Chicago and practiced with the team on Monday. Will he be on the ice for Tuesday night’s game against the Blackhawks? Coach Randy Carlyle would neither confirm nor deny that possibility.
”We usually don’t bring a player up and not play him,” said Carlyle. “Now is it tomorrow night? Well, maybe. He will see some action on the road trip.”
In other words, you will see him when you see him.
Will the same be said of Devante Smith-Pelly? Smith-Pelly, 19, has done very well with the Ducks this year and been a good fit on the third line with the Andrews – Cogliano and Gordon.
However, the Ducks have to make a decision about whether to keep him or send him back to his junior club in Missassauga of the OHL. Smith-Pelly is not old enough to be sent to Syracuse, as you have to be 20 years old by the end of the calendar year in order to play in the AHL. Smith-Pelly will not be 20 until next June.
If they send him back to juniors, he will be unavailable to the Ducks for the remainder of the season. If they keep him beyond the ten game look, Smith-Pelly’s contract starts ticking for free agency.
“I don’t know how close I am to being here full-time,” said Smith-Pelly. “I’m just trying to make it hard on management to make a decision on me.”
Thus far he has been successful.
Smith-Pelly, who was selected #42 in the second round of the 2010 Entry Draft, has merely built on what he started at last year’s training camp with the Ducks, where he stayed much longer than expected. This year, he has not only stayed, but played during the regular season.
How much longer will he play remains to be seen, but Carlyle is not afraid of keeping younger players, free agency issues be damned. That was certainly seen last season when Cam Fowler made the club as an 18 year old rookie.
“I think there’s a misconception that he has to go back,” said Carlyle. “So there’s always this barrier that’s put on the 10-game mark to save the organization a year before free agency. Let’s wipe that out. We try to do an analysis. Is he making a contribution to our group? He’s been a steady player. He’s had some up and downs. He’s been in some situations where he does excel at if he stays on the body and plays that neat and tidy game.”
Having players in the wings, like Maroon, waiting for a spot, will only serve to further motivate. For now, Smith-Pelly is here and game eight is tonight against the Blackhawks. Smith-Pelly’s fate is in his own hands.