Money Spent: Nathan Beaulieu and Martin Marincin

On Saturday, news came that the Montreal Canadiens had re-signed defenceman Nathan Beaulieu to a two-year contract extension. Beaulieu, a 22-year-old defenceman, played his first semi-full season with the Habs this year and has some things in common with Edmonton Oilers’ rearguard Martin Marincin. Does his contract represent a reasonable starting point for Marincin’s next deal?

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Partially this deal is a financial decision by Montreal; signing the player short-term means the cap hit is extremely reasonable. In part, though, it’s also a ‘prove yourself’ contract; Beaulieu spent some time in the AHL during the season and didn’t get a lot of ice-time even when he was in the lineup.

What makes him interesting to us is his similarity to Marincin, another defenceman who seemingly still needs to prove himself to the Oilers. Marincin has played 85 games over the last two seasons to Beaulieu’s 81, and their even-strength numbers (via are pretty similar:

Player TOI PTS/60 OZS% Qcomp HSCRel FenRel
Marincin 15.9 0.36 44.4 17.0 0.83 2.26
Beaulieu 13.8 0.48 50.5 17.2 2.68 1.79

Most of these numbers will be familiar to readers. Marincin played two minutes more per game at evens while Beaulieu was a more effective points/hour player. Marincin started a lot of shifts in the defensive zone; Beaulieu had slightly higher caliber opposition.

The last two numbers are relative. The latter is Fenwick (unblocked shot attempts) and shows that both player had better on-ice numbers than their respective teams; Marincin’s relative was better but Beaulieu played for a better team which makes it harder to outperform his teammates. The other is the relative percentage of high-danger scoring chances (as defined by war-on-ice) when each player was on the ice. Marincin still outperformed his team, but not by as much as he had using Fenwick. In contrast Beaulieu actually outperformed his already impressive Fenwick numbers.

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Neither player has much of a role on the power play, with each averaging less than one minute per game. Beaulieu doesn’t kill penalties, while Marincin averaged better than two minutes per game in the discipline in 2014-15.

Both players look impressive compared to their teams. Beaulieu is about 10 months younger, has better draft pedigree and has the advantage of having played most of his NHL games last season where Marincin’s games are distributed closer to 50/50 over the last two years. Beaulieu has more value than the Oilers’ defenceman; the two play a somewhat similar style of game though Beaulieu is more physical (though still a long way from being a bruiser) and has superior offensive upside while Marincin has an advantage defending the blue line because of his exceptional reach.


Given that Beaulieu just signed a two-year deal at that pricepoint, one imagines that Marincin could be talked into a similar deal; say two seasons at something in the $900,000 range. If he could play regular minutes, even in the No. 6 role, at that pricepoint it would give the Oilers the flexibility to spend money elsewhere. Any evolution on Marincin’s part beyond the No. 6 role would be gravy.

There’s a decent chance that Edmonton ends up moving Marincin this summer in a deal for another player, because that combination of dollar value and upside will be attractive to other NHL teams, especially those near the salary cap. But it’s well worth remembering that those same qualities which make Marincin tradeable should also be attractive to the Oilers.


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  • Gordie Wayne

    What do you think is a reasonable number on a 5 year deal for Marincin, this summer?

    Is it plasible that he would say yes to 7M over 5 years? 8M? 10M?

  • Gordie Wayne

    Great article! I think it would be unwise to dump a player just as he may become particularly useful. He’s cheap and has yet to meet his full potential. This is the kind of player good teams hold on to! Dumping him is something th old regime would do. How the new group handles players likeMarincin will go a long way towards showing us what this team will be made of once McJesus arrives.

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    Ya I’ll take Beaulieu over Marincin hands down all day everyday. Much like justin Schultz, I have no time for dman who are scared to block shots, engage physically, and basically do whatever it takes to win. Never been a Marincin fan and never will be.

    • Marincin is actually, like a lot of primarily positional defenders, a pretty good shot blocker. On a per-shift basis, Marincin was significantly more likely to block a shot than either Jeff Petry or Andrew Ference (to say nothing of Justin Schultz and Nikita Nikitin).

      So if he’s scared, it’s not of blocking shots.

      There’s a tendency to conflate playing physical with desiring victory, and it’s not accurate. Some guys (including some of the greats) just don’t defend that way. Marincin needs to be better at securing the lane from the outside to the front of the net, but in my view it isn’t fair to decide that he doesn’t give a crap just because he plays positional hockey rather than rattling bones.

    • Señor Frijoles

      Seriously? Two players who are 22 and 23 years old who both have very limited NHL experience and its “end of discussion”? Glad you aren’t in charge of anything related to Oilers player development. D-men develop slowly, and it’s very difficult to make an accurate assessment with so little to go on. I think Marincin has a good chance to have a pretty decent career but a “prove yourself” bridge contract would be the perfect way to find out what you’ve got.

    • I like Beaulieu better than Marincin and I always have, but let’s not get crazy here.

      Let’s keep in mind that Beaulieu was cut out of camp, brought up, made a healthy scratch and then sent down again. Let’s remember the team’s own development coach admitted that Beaulieu regressed for a time in the AHL because he was frustrated that another prospect was called up instead of him. Let’s keep in mind the legal trouble and the trade rumours (including one to Edmonton just this past season).

      I like Beaulieu, and I’d take him on my team. I think his upside is higher than Marincin’s, and if I had to pick one guy I’d pick Beaulieu and it wouldn’t take me long to make the decision. But all young players, even good young players, have warts and at the NHL level in the here-and-now Beaulieu is in a very, very similar position to the one Marincin is in: He has some things going for him, including the underlying numbers, but the team hasn’t always embraced him and at times has had reasons to worry.

  • Oil Vice

    Marincin simply does not fit the “mould” that PC spoke of when he was hired. He does not play heavy or with a heavy stick at all. I don’t see him being involved in the long term plans.

  • D

    I hope the Oil continue to invest in Marincin’s development. He just seems like a good bet over the long term, although in the past I’ve been wrong on these issues more often than not.

  • D

    Oh, we of the short memories. Did we not recently give up on Lander(was available to all teams for free) only to see him succeed with a change in coaching. Admittedly, I don’t think Lander has reached his full potential but then neither obviously has Marincin.

    • justDOit

      Good point. This also shows just how undervalued the Oilers’ players are around the league – Lander passed through waivers.

      So that suggests maybe Marincin’s value isn’t going to bring much in trade, other than he provides a warm body on the bench who doesn’t earn a lot.

      I’m really hoping that he’s given an opportunity under a real head coach, before mgmt decides to move him.

      • You are exactly right. Outside of Edmonton, many of the players on the roster have much less value than what fans here believe they should have. You just needed to listen to Hockey Night in Canada every Saturday and that infuriated readers here. It is probably wise to keep on the path, hope these guys get better (they should) and really hope McDavid is the answer.

  • Marcellus Wallace

    All things considered a one-way deal in the $900 range for 2-3 years he’d probably (and should) jump at. Worst case at that price he wouldn’t be hard to move. Can’t really see much downside to it.

  • justDOit

    I am not a huge fan of Marincin’s progress to date. Part on him and part on how the Oil have failed to develop him. Even under a glass half full coach like Nelson he failed to improve much. I think a player is there though. When you have players in the AHL working their butts off to improve it is hard to feel any sympathy at all for Marincin.

    My hope is new management and skilled veteran coaching can work with him. Otherwise he is just another busted-ass draft pick come undone. Gernat already seems to have reached the point of being beyond repair.

  • GM-macT

    Is he visually a Norris trophy candidate yet like Schultz – not likely ? Is he a body safe to put up on waivers – maybe ? Because we are not loaded with defence on team or farm , it might be smart to hold onto him for another year or two .

  • Dan 1919

    Sadly in Oilernation we have MacT/Howson and about 40% of the fanbase that judge a Dman by how often he smashes the teeth in of other teams players. There are people that are not capable of assessing ability outside of the narrow parameters they have created.

    Petry was the latest victim of this mentality and Marincin is very similarly in the same mold. I think that Marincin has been poorly handled. It was a detriment to his development. All the while the Oiler brass focused on giving the golden boy Schultz the push to succeed. Maybe there’s hope with Chia in place but with MacT and Howson still whispering in his ear I dont think so.

    One thing i’m sure of its a good thing Hanifan didnt get drafted here because 40% of the fanbase would be screaming at his inability to smash players into the boards.. Because as we all know that’s the only thing that makes a good NHL defenseman(sarcasm alert). I don’t know what it is? Maybe its the lingering taste in everyones mouth of Pronger leaving? But hopefully one day a successful team in Edmonton will show that Defenseman made up of a combination of stay at home physical types, coupled with quick thinking puck movers are a recipe for success.

    • CofC

      I think you are mistaking a desire for “teeth-smashing” defensemen with a need to have assertive D-men; Petry started to show signs of this assertiveness during his “challenge” year, manifest as better decision-making and decreased tendency to have the puck stripped away from him or worse yet, to give it away under pressure.

      I don’t think anyone feels Marincin doesn’t have some strong baseline qualities that could form a good foundation for a well-rounded NHL D-man down the road; But he hasn’t shown consistency or consistent growth at the NHL or AHL levels yet; Having said that, I don’t think I’d necessarily be against a short-term low-cost deal, as there is likely more upside than we’ve seen to date.

      I don’t think the book is closed yet on Schultz either; Progress at end of last season, with significant growth potential/ceiling as an NHL D-man. This is the guy we’d be foolish to give away too soon…

  • Jordan McNugent-Hallkins

    I’m usually hesitant to use names like Lidstrom and Niedermayer because of the calibre of players they were, but those two carved out amazing careers in the clutch and grab era, without being 240 lbs and smashing faces every night. I think the prototypical NHL defenseman is now probably closer to the 6′, 200 lbs range.

  • Dan 1919

    I lost a lot of respect for Beaulieu when he turned over a puck in the World Jrs. then basically quit on the play that eventually led to a key Russian goal. I saw it as a character flaw, which this article supported when he regressed when overlooked as a call up. Marincin had his own issues this year which were a cause for concern by Oiler fans. Both players are a work in progress.
    I do have a lot of respect for Montreal’s GM, and his actions suggest that these relatively young defensemen still have the potential to garner top six roles on their teams. I think Marincin is serviceable with the proper partner and should be valued accordingly. The team needs a number of value contracts in order to acquire some of the key pieces necessary to challenge for a playoff position in the future. Unless a team is actively trying to trade for Marincin, I feel he should not be the extra body included in a trade. I would sign him for just under $900,000.00 (two way contract if possible). I am assuming he does not yet have to clear waivers. Injuries are a reality and we need more than Davidson as insurance when D-men get hurt / suspended.

  • bazmagoo

    Marincin has the potential to be a 1st pairing d-man, when he fills out and gains more experience. If we can get him for a mil a year for two years we should be running to sign that contract. He won’t be a 1st pairing guy on that next deal, but a solid potential 2nd.

    • Dan 1919

      What on earth gives you the impression that MM has the potential to be a first pairing dman? Are you talking AHL? He barely has potential to be a top 6 NHL dman. You cannot be serious about this post. He is an AHL dman and always will be. Are you one of the fools that thought he was better than Klefbom before last season? Have you seen him play or are you going by analytics?

  • camdog

    I’m more curious which Cap Hell team Martin is going to get traded too? Oh I forget this is Oilers Nation were we only trade draft picks and undesirable players.

    • Dan 1919

      Draft picks for goalies that are about to win their second cup in 6 years… We all wish.

      Interested to see how Marincin progresses under a real coach. He looks to have the basic attributes to be an NHL’er but needs to find that structure to his game that pulls it all together consistently night after night.

      He reminds me of Petry, but already seems less prone to the terrible brain farts and giveaways that Pertry would display night after night.

      Marincin’s got a long way to go, and with the basic attributes already there, it’s going to be more about developing the mental toughness required to compete shift after shift. I’m pulling for him, but if he hasn’t progressed much since last year I don’t see Chiarelli having much time for him

      • CofC

        Couldn’t agree more;

        Sometimes it’s less about where a player is at, and more about how that player is progressing; There is some definite potential here (as there is in thousands of players that never become NHL regulars), and Marincin needs to show that he’s making strides forward, be it in the AHL or at the NHL level.

        Agree re: Petry comparison – hopefully Marincin can work through some of his challenges like Petry eventually did (mostly); worth keeping him around at a reasonable price and short term to see how he progresses.

  • Dan 1919

    I saw Marincin play in the WHL. To me, at that level he look3ed good. Very mobile, with an active stick, a good positional player. Much better than other first round D-MAN picks of the Oil from the past. Selmar Odelein and Alex Plante come to mind. Both obvious busts to me the first time I saw them play when they were juniors for Regina and Calgary. If I could see that, then what is with the scouts? Although I have been watching NHL hockey since 1958. It goes with any natural athlete. The first tiem you see a Vladimir Gurreuro or TAYLOR hall, you just know.

  • Dan 1919

    I saw Marincin play in the WHL. To me, at that level he look3ed good. Very mobile, with an active stick, a good positional player. Much better than other first round D-MAN picks of the Oil from the past. Selmar Odelein and Alex Plante come to mind. Both obvious busts to me the first time I saw them play when they were juniors for Regina and Calgary. If I could see that, then what is with the scouts? Although I have been watching NHL hockey since 1958. It goes with any natural athlete. The first tiem you see a Vladimir Gurreuro or TAYLOR hall, you just know.

  • Dan 1919

    2 at $800,000 per year for Marincin. Let’s see what Nurse and Klefbom do. If all three improve this season we may get our D trending up. Kylington at 16.