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Pat Maroon ‘would like' to make Bruins debut before 2024 playoffs

Pat Maroon ‘would like' to make Bruins debut before 2024 playoffs originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The most notable player the Boston Bruins acquired before the March 8 NHL trade deadline has yet to play a game for the Original Six club, but he appears to be getting closer to making his debut.

Pat Maroon underwent back surgery as a member of the Minnesota Wild in February. He was traded to the Bruins on deadline day and reportedly was expected to be out until late March or early April.

The veteran forward practiced with the B's for the first time Monday at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton, Mass. He is still considered week-to-week, but he is making progress.

“He is making the steps to get closer. When he first got here it was week-to-week but we knew it was going to be a couple of weeks,” Bruins head Jim Montgomery told reporters Monday. “Now it really is week-to-week, and as he hits more of the steps and milestones, it’ll be day-to-day.”

When asked about a best-case scenario for when Maroon could debut, assuming everything goes right, Montgomery said, "Pittsburgh, probably." The B's play the Penguins in Pittsburgh on April 13.

In an ideal world, Maroon would play a couple regular season games with the Bruins before the playoffs arrive. But given Maroon's playoff experience, including three Stanley Cup rings, it's not a huge deal if his B's debut comes in the postseason.

“Guys that are veteran players, who have played in a lot of playoff games and know how to win, you’d like them to have those games, but it’s not necessary," Montgomery told reporters. "They know what it takes to win. They know their role. They relish their role and understand how to manage games. That’s a big reason why we picked him up.”

Maroon prefers to play in the regular season, if possible.

"I would like to play a couple games (before the playoffs)," Maroon told reporters after Monday's practice, per the team. "I think that's the end goal is to play a couple games before the playoffs. They've been really good with me. I can't thank the staff here enough. They've been really patient with me and doing all the right things to make sure I'm 100 percent and I'm back to where I finished off. They have a plan for me, and we're just going to keep sticking with that and progress each day."

Even though Maroon wants to make sure he's ready before coming back, he's still itching to get into the lineup and contribute.

"Trust me, I'm really excited. I can't wait," he said. "Especially watching the Florida and Tampa games, it makes you want to go out there and battle with the guys. I'm really looking forward to it."

The Bruins are back on the road this week with games against the Nashville Predators on Tuesday and Carolina Hurricanes on Thursday, before returning to TD Garden for matchups versus the Florida Panthers on Saturday and the 'Canes again next Tuesday.

Boston has seven games remaining in the regular season, and five of them are against teams currently in a playoff spot.