Ducks extend contract of Patrick Maroon, sign first pick Nick Ritchie
The Ducks and rugged left wing Patrick Maroon agreed to a three-year contract extension through 2017-18 on Saturday and the team also signed its first-round draft pick, left wing Nick Ritchie, to a three-year, entry-level contract.
Ritchie, 18, was the 10th overall pick in the NHL draft in June, a selection acquired when the Ducks traded forward Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators last year.
Maroon, 26, had 11 goals and 18 assists during his rookie campaign.
The 6-foot-3, 230-pound forward won over Coach Bruce Boudreau with his intensity, playing 62 games. He played in every game from Jan. 18 on, and was later promoted to play alongside first-line stars Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.
He gained the extension even before beginning the final season of his existing contract, and will earn $1.9 million in 2015-16, $2 million in 2016-17 and $2.1 million in 2017-18.
“After the Olympic break, I came back with an attitude to prove myself and stay in the lineup, and Bruce gave me all the confidence in the world and every opportunity to succeed in the NHL,” Maroon said in a Saturday conference call. “I can’t thank him enough.”
Maroon scored two goals in the April 9 victory over the San Jose Sharks that effectively sealed the Pacific Division title and No. 1 Western Conference seed for Anaheim.
In the playoffs, he scored two goals with six assists as the Ducks advanced to Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals before losing to the eventual Stanley Cup champion Kings.
Maroon spent parts of six seasons in the minor leagues and said last season’s emergence “meant the world to me. It’s been a tough road for me. You’ve got to believe in yourself.”
He said the team’s off-season, highlighted by the acquisition of center Ryan Kesler from Vancouver, is exciting.
“I’m here to win a championship,” Maroon said. “We’ll have a great team. We were close last year. Now, we’re going to get it done. A great core, and depth too.”
Like Maroon, the 6-2, 226-pound Ritchie is a physical force who scored 73 goals with 75 assists and 246 penalty minutes in 165 career Ontario Hockey League games. He was a member of Canada’s 2013 under-18 World Championship team.
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