As the last season drew to a close for the Edmonton Oilers, there were some positives that began to emerge for the team. They were winning more than they were losing, Taylor Hall was racking up points like a Club Z member, and a lanky young defender was showing a surprising amount of talent to the big NHL club after a call up.
That defender was Martin Marincin. Marincin was called up to the Oilers on Boxing Day last year and ended up sticking with the club. While he only produced six points, it was his ability to make a great pass, the strong possession numbers (he had a Corsi rating of 47.5 %, the best of any Oilers defender, including Captain Andrew Ference), and the success he had against strong opponents that won over critics and coaches alike.
Choruses of media types and bloggers alike hailed him as the best blue liner on the team in the second half of the season and they were right. He jumped up in the attack and didn’t back down from tough zone competition from teams with experienced defencemen. It was a pleasure to see and was most unexpected.
When Oilers fans talked call up talent from the Farm Team in Oklahoma, it usually included mention of guys like Oscar Klefbom, Martin Gernat or Taylor Fedun (who I still think would be a better choice than Mark Fraser). Marincin was under the radar but his solid play in OKC led to his call up and to what could be a new contract and a big role with the Oilers.
Marincin will need to tack on a few pounds in the off season. At 22 years of age, he towers at a skyscraping 6’5, but has yet to cross the 200 pound barrier. Chances are Marincin will be hitting the gym in a big, big way over the summer, and trying to add 10-20 pounds to his frame. Should the player add some toughness to his game, it’s a certainty he moves up the depth chart fast.
Obviously, Marincin isn’t the answer to all of Edmonton’s defensive prayers. He will need further support and some veteran mentorship, something the current roster sorely lacks. He has been mentioned in trade talks as well as a piece that could be added to a package to acquire a top 2 defender. I hope the Oilers will keep this young Slovak on the payroll. He could be the shining example of the fine development of blue line talent occurring under Todd Nelson and the OKC Barons.
OIL ON WHYTE OUTLOOK: Barring a blockbuster trade, Marincin should float between the 4th and 6th spots on the depth chart throughout the season. Should he come out flying, the sky is the limit.