Pat Maroon became the first player in the NHL expansion era to win the Stanley Cup in three straight seasons with different teams when the Tampa Bay Lightning defeated the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final at Amalie Arena on Wednesday.
Maroon is the first player to win the Cup in three consecutive seasons since 16 New York Islanders won it four straight times from 1980-83, including Mike Bossy, Clark Gillies, Denis Potvin, Billy Smith and Bryan Trottier.
Maroon won the Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and with the Lightning the past two seasons.
“It’s cool to be in that category,” the forward said prior to the Cup Final. “I’m blessed to have that opportunity to be a part of two really good (playoff) runs the last two years, and now the third one this year. It’s been fun to play with teams that were trying to get over the hump.”
Maroon is the first player to win the Stanley Cup three straight seasons with different teams since Ed Litzenberger won four straight from 1960-64 with the Chicago Black Hawks (one) and Toronto Maple Leafs (three). Last season, Maroon joined Cory Stillman and Claude Lemieux as the only players to win the Cup with different teams in consecutive seasons in the expansion era (since 1967-68).
Stillman won the Cup with the Lightning in 2004, then with the Carolina Hurricanes in 2006. The Cup was not awarded in 2005 because the 2004-05 NHL season was canceled by a work stoppage.
Lemieux won it with the New Jersey Devils in 1995 and the Colorado Avalanche in 1996.
“Once you have that Stanley Cup, there’s no other feeling like it, and you just want more of it, you want to spend time with it, you want to party with it, you want to see the smiles on each other’s faces, and just the sweat and the work that we put in every single day,” Maroon said. “It’s been a fun last three years for me and my family, and it’s been fun the last two years with these guys. It’s pretty hard to do what we’re doing right now, to go [back-to-back].”
Prior to Maroon, the last player to be a part of back-to-back championships with two 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 Cup Final).
“Guys are stars in different ways, and you can’t sit here and judge a guy because if he doesn’t get 100 points, he’s not a star player,” Tampa Bay coach Jon Cooper said. “There’s guys that are stars in the room. There’s guys that are stars on the bench, and when you get to the situation we are in and Montreal is in, guys pitch in in different ways. ‘Patty,’ guys gravitate to him. He’s always saying the right things when it’s needed, and he’s got swag to him. So he’s a star in our book.”
A St. Louis native, Maroon signed a one-year contract with the Blues on July 10, 2018. That season, he scored seven points (three goals, four assists) in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games to help St. Louis defeat the Boston Bruins in seven games for the championship.
Maroon then signed a one-year contract with the Lightning Aug. 24, 2019, and scored six points (one goal, five assists) in 25 postseason games, helping them defeat the Dallas Stars in six games in the 2020 Cup Final. He signed a two-year contract to remain with Tampa Bay on Oct. 29 and scored four points (two goals, two assists) in 23 games this postseason, including scoring his first Stanley Cup Final goal in Game 4 against Montreal.
“I’ve been fortunate to play with so many good players, good teams, good organizations, and the last two years have been tremendous, especially last year’s run to see those guys get over the hump they’ve been trying for, for so many years, and to what happened the year before and to bounce back the way we did, I think it was truly amazing to see the effort and the time we put in and the work, and same this year,” Maroon said.
Selected by the Philadelphia Flyers in the sixth round (No. 161) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Maroon became a full-time NHL player with the Ducks in 2013-14. He was traded to the Edmonton Oilers on Feb. 29, 2016, and set NHL career highs in goals (27) and points (42) in 2016-17, when the Oilers came within one win of the Western Conference Final.
He was traded to New Jersey on Feb. 26, 2018, and scored 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 17 games to help New Jersey clinch a playoff berth. However, the Devils lost to the Lightning in five games in the Eastern Conference First Round, the last time Maroon has lost a playoff series.
“I’m lucky enough to play with such good guys, character guys that get it, and I’m just there,” the 33-year-old said. “It’s exciting for me, and it’s another chance to hoist another Stanley Cup over my head.”