Photo by Steven Christy
Martin Marincin, the bean with the dream, has been recalled by the Edmonton Oilers. I start there because the story of Marty in his final year of an entry level contract is a tale of “will he or won’t he”. That doesn’t mean that Marincin “hasn’t or won’t”, but that there are still a ton of question marks on the defensive prospect that three seasons hasn’t quite answered.
Let’s talk locally. Marincin has been a bit of a squeeky door for the Barons since his demotion from Edmonton. He is back to looking like a rookie with no NHL TOI. Awkward in the corners and in neutral ice, prone to mistakes that shouldn’t happen at this stage in the game, and want to be a tepid puck handler and blue line basher. He’s not soft, but flimsy. He’s not careful, but too cautious. He’s not really good between the ears, but distracted by something. And while the Oklahoma City Barons continue to pave the way to greatness as a team, he is slowly dipping below Davidson, Hunt, and maybe one more on the depth chart. Yikes.
But remember, he is a player that seems to over-achieve when given the spotlight (or at least a dim incandescent flood light). His most recent games with the Oilers (12 to date) haven’t been all that bad, and were certainly better than those of Keith Aulie (and more). His problem now will be to come close or even-to the quality of minutes that Oscar Klefbom is finally creating. By comparison Klefbom and even Brandon Davidson are stepping out of the minor league shadows, and actually paving the way for future success with the team that drafted them.
I think Marincin could get back to where he was as long as he fixes the things going on between his ears. We’ve seen this over the last two seasons happen to Martin Gernat – his head seems elsewhere at times – and don’t think for a moment that Marincin can’t resurrect himself out of the cobwebs of his own mind. He is a talented player, one who has unveiled those talents in the NHL regularly, he just has to put together the physical, and the metaphysical in to a blender, put it on 10, and grind out sweet tasting play.
Recently his AHL numbers point to a fella struggling a bit (for the season he only has 7 points in 27 games), but if you are trying to quantify how good he is based on goals, assists, points or plus/minus, you probably have done something unspeakable. We have watched Marincin’s minutes go down in the last two weeks, and he has been swapped between Dillon Simpson and Martin Gernat. With those two defenders struggling equal to that of Marincin (if not more so) it has been difficult to gauge the true level of success, but let’s just say it has been soggy for some time.
Speaking from the heart, I believe this is Marincin’s shot. The Oilers have nothing to lose beyond draft lotto standings, and neither does Martin. This is the kid, after all, that has Olympic ice time. That played beautifully when the Oilers otherwise were doing the opposite. I am holding out hope on this prospect because I think the Oilers are willing to give him a good spin through the league in the coming weeks. Fingers and toes crossed, my friends.