Martin Marincin’s return to the Edmonton Oilers gave head coach Dallas Eakins more options, and allowed him to deploy the troops in a more effective way. How did he use him in Game one? Will that be Marincin’s job for the rest of the year?
In the early days of the season, when Marincin was in OKC, Dallas Eakins used Jeff Petry and Andrew Ference for zone starts (courtesy BTN):
Marincin’s one game stands out, but before he arrived the ZS’s went to Petry and Ference. With Marincin playing alongside Fayne for game one, it allowed the Oilers to use Nikitin and Schultz in even more offensive roles, and lighten the load for captain Ference. It paid off with what might have been the captain’s best performance as an Oiler.
LEDUC NO. 1
On Saturday, Dallas Eakins reunited Marincin with his old Oklahoma City Barons partner Justin Schultz, and then today it was back to Marincin—Fayne. Logically, you’d like to see your best defenseman (who might be Fayne as things roll along) with the best available defender on the opposite side. For my money, that’s Marincin.
On the other hand, if Marincin plays with Justin Schultz that’s also a terrific option. Marincin is mobile and has a long wingspan, plus has an idea about how to play the game. Calm feet. Not all the time, mind, but he’s a youngster still learning the game. Marincin’s defensive acumen is very good, if he can stay healthy long enough for the experience to kick in the Oilers have a real gem.
For my money the two elements Dallas Eakins has to use Marincin to break down are Justin Schultz’ crazy minutes and Niki Nikitin’s ineffectiveness. If Eakins can run Marincin—Fayne and Ference—Petry in all of the D-zone starts, then the chaos pairing of Nikitin—Schultz may not give up a six pack to the Tampa Bay Lighting.
But it’s a massive risk.
Every conversation about Edmonton’s defense revolves around Schultz because he plays damn near half the game. Here are the early (I mean EARLY) CorsiON numbers:
Dallas Eakins has done an excellent job with the forwards, but I think the Nurse-Nikitin issues (youth and injury) threw him for a loop early on.
I think Marinicin-Fayne, Ference-Petry and Nikitin-Schultz might work if:
- The top pairing (Fayne) faces ghastly zone-starts (all of the defensive ones)
- Nikitin-Schultz do opposite George and get the offensive ones
- Ference-Petry play the rest as required.
It isn’t perfect, and we’re going to have to decide if Nikitin is hurt or if he’s not as advertised. It’s one or another.