Martin Marincni’s smooth transition to the pro game gives Oiler fans hope for the future. (photo courtesy Rob Ferguson, all rights reserved).
The headliner for this story is the early season prominence for the former 2nd round selection.
- Steve Tambellini in October: “His natural instincts for the game are very good … coming into the Saturday game, he was leading the American (Hockey) League in plus minus. That speaks to his hockey sense. When I look at Martin, I also see a strong ability to pass the puck. His body has to get stronger from a defensive standpoint. He’s a six-foot-four, six-foot-five kid, but is he is pretty lean (187 pounds). That said, when you watch him, he has an excellent stick for poke-checking.”
Marincin was paired with Justin Schultz early on, and that certainly contributed to his impressive debut. However, Marincin is also a smart enough player to take advantage of fast breaks and push up to the slot when opportunities arise. The young man has some on the job learning to do defensively, but there’s a fine young player emerging on the farm.
Marincin is an interesting player. Lanky (now 6.05, 196 according to ahl.com), a fine skater and a man who can surprise you with his dirty work:
Summer 2012: #4
Winter 2012: #4
- ISS: 40
- Redline: 50
- Bob McKenzie: 71
- Taken #46 in the watershed 2010 Oiler entry draft
- Redline: Tall Lanky D with a huge frame to fill out. Good skating ability for his size; Pivots well and shows good agility, though he lacks balance and acceleration. Skates with head up and looking for plays – smooth puck handler with good passing touch. Reads play quickly and makes good decisions. Doesn’t force things that aren’t there. However, once he makes his outlet pass, his arms sag to his side and he’s not interested in trying anything else offensively. Lacks an aggressive mindset and rarely ventures off the blue line at offensive end. Inconsistent defensively – positioning in own zone needs improvement. Tough to beat 1-on-1 off the rush because of his mobility and long reach, but can be beaten in tight by quick, shifty forwards. Counts mostly on the pokecheck and skating ability rather than using his big body, but is improving in the physical aspect and does a good job pinning men against the wall.
- Stu MacGregor: “We got the pick in a trade for Riley Nash and with that pick we were really hoping to get a defenceman. Our European scout Frank Musil was pushing for him. We’d seen him as a 17-year-old at the World Junior in Saskatoon. He was tall and slender and could skate well and had real good sense with the puck. A lot of the decision involved the knowledge he planned to come to North America to play junior as an 18-year-old.”
- Boxcars: 14, 3-5-8 +6 10 pims
- Steve Tambellini: “We’re not going to rush him because he has to mature physically … of course, Ralph (Oilers head coach Krueger) may see him and want him (immediately). All I know is I like his instincts, I like Marincin’s potential.”
- Todd Nelson: “His body has to mature. As long as his body keeps maturing, he’ll be able to sustain the game at the NHL level. He’s rangy and green still, but there’s tremendous upside. Everybody is looking for 6-foot-5 defencemen with offensive ability. I think he has great opportunity to see games in the NHL.”
Marincin has some nice gifts, but as with all defensemen it comes down to learning curve without the puck. In OKC he’s made his share of mistakes, but we should expect that from such a young player making the leap to pro hockey. We’ll have a much better idea about Marincin at the end of this year, but the arrows are very good–much better than we should have expected based on last season.
Although Marincin is a step down from Schultz and Klefbom as a prospect, he’s certainly a quality young defender who could end up playing a prominent role on an NHL blueline. Recalling the words of Glen Sather in regard to a young Kevin Lowe: “If a guy is making the same mistakes over and over again, you’ve got to be concerned. But if he’s learning then you’ve got to be patient.”
- December 2004: D Jeff Woywitka
- December 2005: L Jean-Francois Jacuqes
- December 2006: C Andrew Cogliano
- December 2007: D Taylor Chorney
- December 2008: C Rob Schremp
- December 2009: C Chris VandeVelde
- December 2010: D Martin Marincin
- December 2011: L Teemu Hartikainen
- December 2012: D Martin Marincin
History tells us that if you’re waiting on three prospect defensemen count on at least one falling away and another not reaching his potential. The Oilers are flush with prospects now–Justin Schultz is at the head of the class and looks like a lock–and the club has some nice blue behind him. I’m not certain where he would slot into the depth chart as a mature player–a guess would be that Marincin would rank behind Smid, Petry, J Schultz and Klefbom–but the answers are out there and time plus circumstance will tell us the story.
I think the best thing for him is one full season in OKC, more if required. When the GM and coach stop saying he needs to add strength, then bring him up and see how he handles NHL sorties. There should be no hurry with this player despite holes in the depth chart.
Martin Marincin is not a sure thing, but his OKC results are very encouraging.