Martin Marincin, Expectations and Results


At his press availability on Wednesday, Dallas Eakins was lobbed a softball question about rookie defenceman Martin Marincin, who has been one of the few pleasant surprises on the team this season. Rather than extol the defender’s virtues, Eakins chose to focus on the challenge still ahead of the player.

The Coach’s View

Dallas Eakins 12

There are still challenges with his game. I think the best way to put it is he’s played well for a first-year defenceman, and same with Oscar [Klefbom]. In that game last night we’re playing against a Stanley Cup contender and we’ve got two guys that are so green on our back end. Again, it’s hey, this is what it’s going to be like basically every night in our conference because our conference is loaded with teams like that. You have to learn very quickly, if you’re going to turn into an NHL defenceman – and I mean an NHL defenceman is one who is going to play 82 games a year, every year, not ‘hey, let’s see what he can do under these circumstances’ – then you’re going to have to win the battles, you’re going to have to be able to play against Thornton and Marleau and Backes, all these guys. It’s like I spoke about right when I came in here, it can’t be ‘well, he did okay but he’s young.’ It doesn’t matter, you have to be able to play and you have to be able to win against those other players that you’re going up against every night, and that’s the challenge for a guy like Marincin and Klefbom.

So, to recap: There are still problems with Marincin’s game, he’s playing well for a rookie but the team’s at a point where ‘he’s playing well for a rookie’ isn’t good enough, and he needs to show he can be an every night defenceman.

The Numbers


The chart above shows the 10-game rolling Corsi averages for the four real defencemen currently on the Oilers’ roster (data courtesy of It shouldn’t be taken as an absolute guide as to the ability of the player, but it does show what’s happening on the ice.

In Marincin’s case, what’s happening is largely good. His line (purple) has been consistently ahead of the other three (regular partner Jeff Petry is marching in lock-step) and that’s despite a pile of starts in the defensive zone and some tough competition.

Which is Real?


So which is the correct view? Is the coach right that Marincin still needs a lot of work, or are the numbers correct in that he’s NHL-ready right now?

I think the answer is probably ‘both’.

Marincin’s got a big frame but he’s still lanky and he’s not especially physical for a guy who stands 6’4”. More than that, he’s prone to brain cramps in front of his own net (which puts him in the same class as every other defender on the roster).

With that said, there are enough good points here right now that they’re driving on-ice results. Watching Marincin defend his own blue line is a real treat; he has such great reach that he can make a poke check play when an opponent comes within reach and still have enough space to stay in front of that opponent if it doesn’t work. He can take and make a pass, even under pressure, and that’s something the current Oiler blue isn’t especially good at.

He’s one of a bunch of players the Oilers need to be better if they’re ever going to pull out of the NHL basement. But he’s also a guy who drives results, and that’s something Edmonton has nowhere near enough of on the back end.


    • Zarny

      I think Eakins knows exactly how well Marincin is playing.

      Marincin’s corsi might be better than Petry, Ference and Schultz but that doesn’t make it good.

    • toprightcorner

      I get what your saying, add some positive to the constructive critisism. The problem is that past coaches alwasy said nothing but positive thing about Hall, Eberle, Nuge and even Gagner and they will be elite NHL players. It tells them they have arrived when its better for them to think they are here but they have a lot of work to do before they are considered consisten quality players in the NHL. Nothing Eakins said was untrue, he was 100% honest and I agree with his report on Marincin.

  • Eakins just called out mgt. You can’t expect to compete with SC teams with 1/3 or 1/2 your D being thrown to the wolves and expected to come out wearing a sleek coat and fancy hat.

    Procurement and development with staggered insertion = feathering in and stability. The Oilers have had none of this thanks to mgt.

    Which is why Hall, Ebs, Huge, Yak all continue to struggle with their games’ consistency. They too were thrown to the wolves with nothing around them to shelter them from the wolfpack. And that leads to a lot of 25 & 26 year old UFAs wondering if they want to stick around on the promise of next year.

    • toprightcorner

      I agree but I think it is also a warning to fans that just because we have a couple talented young players in the system it doesn’t make this team a winner. The young forwards didnt give the team success like all the fans hoped and dreamed so why should a couple youg dmen make it better.

      Oilers need players who will play at a high level day in and day out for 82 games. I think Eakins is saying to fans that hey, young guys don’t make your team a winner so we need to exchange some of these young guys for proven vet players to help the other young players.

      Hopefully MacT realizes this as well and his bold moves are young guys out quality veterans in.

      Young guys will not save the day.

    • 27Ginge

      Excellent point Dave about the 25 or 26 year old UFA’s. Also, there agents do not want them on a losing team when they go for the 30 to 32 year old contract talks. Thus I don’t see many staying in Edmonton.

      This all has to do with leadership, or lack of, in the Oilers case (ie Lowe).

  • 27Ginge

    Id trade him, gagner and next years first for spezza and methot. Awful trade in terms of age and potential but exactly the type of trade that is going to have to be made.

    • mesa

      I agree, something bold like this. We cant wait for Hall, RNH, Eberle, etc to mature without veteran help. I would do this in a heart beat

      Mind you I don’t think Ottawa would want Gagner

    • toprightcorner

      You think our defense core is bad now? These four in the top 6 would make this years defense look l;ike all stars.

      Cant have 2 young guys with less than 30 games each and 2 rookies on defense like that, two at the most and even that could be pushing it.

      Nurse should spend another year in Junior to develop even more and creat a bit of a gap on defence, he won’t make an impact next year anyway.

      I wouldn’t draft Ekblad, not casue he isnt good, but he won’t have a positive impact on this team for at least 3-4 years. We need defensive help immediately.

      I would consider trading either Klefbom or Marincin in a package if it could get us a veteran top 2 dman in return like Josi or Tuytin.

      The team has more than enough youth, we need quality vets to teach the young ones. The reason the team is where it is today is because the team lacks veteran leadership.

      • Quicksilver ballet

        This is much closer to becoming reality than most of us realize. MacTavish actually making a deal to help this club short term, is highly unlikely. He’s going to get played all summer just like he was last summer by the Holmgren (Coburn) and Gilles (Schneider) types. Will he come to camp in the fall yet again without a top pairing blueliner? Highly damn likely I’d wager.

        If Hall asks to be moved in three weeks, if the Eakins vote of confidence remains. That could be the first big shoe to drop in a possible Weber deal. These kids are still young, but even they know you can’t fix stupid (this management group). Hall, Gagner and Petry might get it done. Management is playing Russian roulette with Hall and Yakupov by confirming Eakins.

  • TKB2677

    I’ve been impressed with Marincin. Yes he still has issues but he’s got a grand total of 35 NHL games under his belt and he doesn’t look out of place. Hopefully he can put on at least another 10lbs over the offseason which will make a huge difference.

    I’m hopeful that he will take what he has learned in the 43 games he will ultimately play this season and apply it so next year he is even better. In looking at the defense. If he continues to trend up like he has been and Klefbomb can take the what will end up being 17 games this season in the NHL and hopefully continue to trend up, maybe the Oilers defense won’t be such a black hole. The will be young and still need more seasoning but with Marincin, Klefbomb and a continuing to improve Schultz, they should be better. I still think they need to add a vet or 2 next season but hopefully things are looking up.

    OKC making the playoffs so Marincin, Klefbomb and Lander can go down and play more meaningful games would be a god sent.

  • Czar

    Marincin is part of the solution moving forward, not so sure Eakin’s is! He should try giving someone other than his hairdresser a little praise once and a while!!