Pat Maroon said “there’s no doubt in my mind” the Tampa Bay Lightning can win the Stanley Cup for a third consecutive time this season.
“I truly think we can run it back again,” the Lightning forward told The Athletic on Friday. “It depends on our health, how guys are feeling, our attitude. But we’ve been texting together as a group and thinking, we’ve brought our top two lines back, our big four on ‘D,’ the best goalie in the world (Andrei Vasilevskiy). We added (forward Pierre-Eduoard Bellemare), we’ve got (forward) [Ross] Colton, (forward) [Mathieu] Joseph. You add (forward) Taylor Raddysh and those guys can fill in. Why not?
“(Center) Brayden Point, ‘Kuch’ (forward Nikita Kucherov) and (forward Ondrej Palat) are coming back. There’s no doubt in my mind we can run it back. Guys want to do it again. That’s why we play.”
Maroon has won the Stanley Cup three consecutive seasons; the 33-year-old was victorious with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 before signing with the Lightning on Aug. 24, 2019 and winning with Tampa Bay the past two seasons.
He can become the 45th player in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup four straight times and the fourth to do it with two teams; the other three to accomplish that feat are Eddie Gerard (Ottawa Senators, 1920-21, 1923; Toronto St. Pats, 1922), Ab McDonald (Montreal Canadiens, 1958-60; Chicago Black Hawks, 1961) and Ed Litzenberger (Black Hawks, 1961; Toronto Maple Leafs, 1962-64).
The NHL record for most consecutive Stanley Cup victories by a player is five, co-held by 11 members of the Canadiens from 1956-60, including Hall of Famers Maurice Richard, Bernie Geoffrion, Doug Harvey, Dickie Moore, Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard.
The last player before Maroon to be part of back-to-back championships with different teams was Mark Hartigan, who played for the Anaheim Ducks in 2007 and Detroit Red Wings in 2008 but doesn’t have his name on the Stanley Cup after not meeting the games-played criteria in either season (at least 41 games played in the regular season or one game played in the Final).
Maroon is also the eighth player in NHL history and the third in the expansion era (since 1968) to win consecutive titles with different teams. The players who did so prior to expansion were: Al Arbour and Litzenberger (1961 Black Hawks, 1962 Maple Leafs); McDonald (1960 Canadiens, 1961 Black Hawks); Lionel Conacher (1934 Black Hawks, 1935 Montreal Maroons; and Gerard (1921 Senators, 1922 Toronto St. Patricks, 1923 Senators).
Maroon scored 18 points (four goals, 14 assists) in 55 games for the Lightning last season and four points (two goals, two assists) in 23 playoff games.
He said Tampa Bay will miss center Yanni Gourde, who was claimed by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21. The Kraken will begin play as the 32nd NHL team this season.
Gourde was fourth on the Lightning in scoring this season with 36 points (17 goals, 19 assists) in 56 games and scored seven points (six goals, one assist) in 23 playoff games.
“Yanni stings a little bit,” Maroon said. “It’s a tough loss for us. He was the guy that drove the bus for us. He was that anchor that led the way for us every single night. Not only was he a good player but a good family man, good locker room guy, a huge presence in the locker room. His whole family, his wife, his family. We’re going to miss them all.
“I know it’s a business, and this is part of it. Yanni is a heck of a player. There’s a reason why Seattle wanted him. I can see him being the captain there one day. That one stings, losing what he did every single night. He played 150 percent every night, in practices and games. Those are the guys you win with.”