Sunday, March 29, 2015

Does Martin Marincin Stay Or Go?

There is no doubt that Wednesday’s 4-3 victory over the Colorado Avalanche will always hold a special place in the heart of Edmonton Oilers defenceman Martin Marincin. When a guy scores the first goal of his National Hockey League career, it generally tends to be one of those memorable moments. 

As if finding the back of the net wasn’t already significant enough, the talented Slovak made sure goal No. 1 was one to remember, beating Avalanche starter Semyon Varlamov with one heck of snipe to give his team an early advantage. While it was a lead Edmonton would eventually blow, it ultimately worked out in the end, as we were all treated to what has become your proto-typical Oilers vs Avs game. 

While this team continues to collect meaningless points that quite possibly could end up costing them the chance of drafting Connor McDavid or Jack Eichel at this summer’s Entry Draft in Sunrise, Florida, one cannot help but look at the backend and wonder if the towering defender is still looked upon as a guy who will be part of the solution moving forward. 

There is no question that the vast majority of this fan base looks at Marincin as a “sure-fire” piece of the puzzle but chances are this management team are nowhere near as confident. Despite playing at an extremely high level during his rookie campaign in 2013-14, the twenty-three year old wasn’t very good to start training camp in September and to make matters worse; the kid has yet to add the muscle to his frame that many within the organization have been patiently waiting to surface for the last number of years. 

This summer will mark the five year anniversary of the Oilers decision to use the forty-sixth pick of the 2010 Draft on the former Prince George Cougar and while Marincin has taken time to develop, he looks as though he is on his way to being a solid NHL defenceman for years too come. Problem being, he has now been passed on this team’s “internal depth chart” by Oscar Klefbom and Justin Schultz, with Darnell Nurse soon to follow. 

Now many will argue that suggesting Schultz is a better option than Marincin along the blueline is downright idiotic, the fact of the matter is that is exactly how Craig MacTavish and company view things and that is all that truly matters. Make no mistake, this organization will scour the entire league and unrestricted free agent market in hopes of upgrading their defence prior to the start of 2015-16. 

With that being the case and the former Olympian clearly not a “priority” in the eyes of those in charge, could he instead be used as possible trade bait in hopes of acquiring one of the many pieces this lineup still needs in order to compete for a playoff spot in the Western Conference? In my opinion, it is foregone conclusion and in all honesty, the bigger surprise would be if he were actually still here come next October. 

For a team starving for defenceman, it would seem odd to move a guy with Marincin’s skill-set but you can only have so many youngsters on the backend at any one given time and again, he is clearly No. 4 in the pecking order when it comes to the under twenty-five camp. To be perfectly honest, depending on who they take at this year’s draft even that position is far from being guaranteed. Could that change? Certainly but the chances of MacT swallowing his pride and keep Marincin over a guy like Schultz, would appear to be highly unlikely. 

Again, considering Martin Marincin has yet to show a willingness to add some muscle to his wiry frame and/or add a physical dimension to his game, chances are this organization has reached the point where they would be more than ok with looking at going in another direction. In the end, if that is how this ultimately plays out, you can bet this management team will praying it does not come back to haunt them down the road…because it very well could. 

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