A familiar name is being mentioned a lot right now in Toronto. A lot of the same arguments Oiler fans have seen before are being chewed through by fans, media,
and likely the hockey staff of the Leafs, just as they were here. Martin
Marincin is an interesting player whom the Oilers jettisoned this past summer
and is now taking big leaps with his team. I’m happy for Marincin, but it’s irksome as one that lobbied for him until the end.

For those who don’t know or don’t remember, Marincin has
always been a personal favourite of mine. I genuinely “saw him good,” as they
say, even though that sentiment was definitely not replicated universally.
Perhaps this was because he is a non-traditional player and I lean significantly
towards non-traditional analysis. Strange birds of a feather flock together, or

The tall, lanky Slovak is having something of a coming out
over the last few weeks as he’s been thrust into a significant role with the
Leafs. He’s now consistently logging top three minutes on the defense and as his
time increases, the impact he has on the game seems to make a better impression
with head coach Mike Babcock.

It’s true now that Babcock is regularly referring to Martin
Marincin as a part of his “Big Three” defenseman. He’s now mentioned in the
same breath as Rielly and Gardiner by one of the most venerated hockey men in
the NHL. That’s a big deal for a kid who was tossed aside by the lowly Oilers,
who had his compete level questioned by managers and media alike, who was the
only defender on the Oilers who didn’t get another year to prove himself to

The 2014-2015 Oiler blueline was a train wreck, not unlike it was
this year, but of the 13 players who suited up for Edmonton’s defense the only
ones who were not with the club or in the system this year were Keith Aulie and
Martin Marincin. Everybody else got a stay of execution, but Peter Chiarelli got
some pretty terrible intel and  moved out a player who is now logging
20+ minutes a night in the NHL and has been competent doing so.

The Marincin trade is going to be remembered by many as
Marincin for Gryba, but that’s not actually what happened. The Oilers traded
Marincin for Brad Ross and the 107th pick in the draft. The Oilers
then traded Travis Ewanyk and that pick to the Senators for Gryba. Considering
neither Ewanyk nor Christian Wolanin (the player the Sens took at 107) are ever
likely to help the Senators even win a game, the argument that the
Oilers needed to trade Marincin in order to acquire Gryba probably doesn’t carry

What I’m saying is, I’m sure the Oilers could have found a
way to make something work.

And, honestly speaking, I’ve liked what Eric Gryba has brought to
the third pair. He can play physically, he plays within his means (as in he doesn’t
have delusions of being Bobby Orr), and he’s a right shot. That last bit is
important. Right shot defenders are always in demand and recent analysis seems
to suggest that having L-R pairs really can make a positive difference.

While we’re at it, the emergence of Brandon Davidson may
also have made Marincin expendable in another way. There are a lot of “What-Ifs”
that can be played if we think about what might have happened if the Oilers
kept Marincin. Would they have lost him or Davidson to waivers anyway? Would
the Oilers have been able to keep Nurse in the AHL for longer? Would they have
traded for Reinhart if they believed they had something of value in Marincin?
We can only speculate.

All we can say for sure is that Marincin has been getting
quality results while looking awkward in the process for a long time. He’s not
typical. He is spindly and uses his stick much more than his body. Even as he’s
climbed up the depth chart of the Leafs his coach still wants him to gain more
strength. This is something we’ve heard before, as Robin Brownlee mentioned yesterday. It’s not as if Marincin has never put in a summer’s work before
though. He gained 15 pounds in one off-season with the Oilers to put him up
over the 200 pound mark.

As for his on-ice contributions, they’ve always been positive to the goal of keeping the puck out of the net. I’ve mentioned this
before and I’ll double down on it here: Martin Marincin is one of the best
defensive defensemen in the NHL. He is the modern shut-down defender and the
results speak for themselves. His three year Corsi For percentage relative to
his teammates is 30th among NHL defensemen with 2000 minutes played.
He is number one in the NHL in goals against per 60 minutes relative to his
teammates and 27th in raw goals against per 60 minutes.

Simply put, the puck stays out of Toronto’s net when
Marincin is on the ice to such a degree that the impact is unquestionably
positive. It was that way when he was an Oiler as well. If you hate fancy stats
and are more comfortable with numbers like traditional plus/minus then consider
that Marincin has played 137 games for the Oilers and the Leafs and is only a
career -4. He has played exclusively on garbage teams that had terrible
goaltending, isn’t adding much offense of his own, and has still found a way to
keep things almost even. That’s as impressive now as it was when he was an

Why we’re bringing him up right now as the Oilers limp out
the season isn’t to pine over his loss. It’s to question how the decision to
move him was made. Somebody was feeding the Oilers bad information. Somebody couldn’t
see past the way Marincin looked to see the results he was bringing. That
person is still in the organization today.

Chiarelli is coming up on his one year with the Oilers and
decisions are going to be made. When those decisions are being made, one has to
believe seeing the Maple Leafs pass the Oilers in the standings on the back of
25 minute a night performances from Martin Marincin is going to factor in. Edmonton
isn’t good enough to keep people around who value style over substance.
Edmonton isn’t good enough to keep people around who can’t evaluate talent.

All stats courtesy of 

  • Explicit

    Meh, I don’t miss Petry and I don’t miss Marincin. I don’t mind that they got rid of them, but I hate that they still havn’t got a real top pair guy. But I like my Gryba types better than the soft “puck movers” on the bottom of the line up

  • Little Buttcheeks

    I like Marty when he was here and didn’t really understand why we felt the need to dump him for a proverbial bag of pucks. There go the Oilers getting rid of a useful player for absolutely nothing again. I would have rather just kept him, not traded for Reinhart and found another way to acquire Gryba. Oh well, the Oilers seem to know what they’re doing anyways…

  • nunyour

    Don’t worry about Marty,this team will be shaken to the core this summer,and two of the core will be traded for defenceman.They will be replace with a veteran for leadership and some kid named austin.

  • camdog

    I didn’t mind moving Marancin because he plays left defence and the Oilers already had Klefbom, Nurse and Sekera pencilled in for those positions. However as time goes on, the trade for Reinhart becomes even more perplexing, it just doesn’t make sense.

    I don’t know how anybody can defend the job PC has done this season with this organisation. I expect more and if we don’t get more we will be in the same spot next season.

    • pkam

      To be fair, I will give him at least several more months before judging him. This upcoming draft, UFA and offseason will tell how he is doing. But I am not as high on him as some fans here are.

      • camdog

        All you need to do is look at the standings to evaluate what PC’s done. Next year might be different he might have a better year. One thing I will guarantee is that there is absolutely no way that PC himself will be happy with his own personnel performance. Not a chance.

        • pkam

          Chia needs to make the right decision, not quick decision.

          I have waited 10 years. I will rather wait one more year and hope he makes the right decisions, instead of him making some quick but wrong decisions and once again we look forward to the next management change.

          • pkam

            Agree. But he has to make decision at that time, like trading for Talbot and Nilsson. So some decisions are good and some are bad which is quite normal especially when he didn’t know much about this team. At least this is not a huge mistake. So ask yourself, would you rather he made more changes but most were mistakes even bigger than this?

            That is why I’ll rather Chia takes the time to evaluate the team before making critical decisions, one that may set us back a couple of years again.

  • A-Mc

    Chiarelli needed to rely on some input in year 1 because the club cannot sit on its hands for a full season before something is done.

    Going into next year, Chiarelli has no excuses. He’s had a full year to assess talent first hand and he has seen how some of his choices have not worked out (Assumed to be at the suggestion/direction of others in the Oilers Organization).

    We’ll see what he does this summer! I still have faith.

    • The Last Of Barrett's Privateers


      I think we as fans need to cut Chairelli some slack and T-Mac sometime to get the pieces he needs.

      I honestly think Chairelli will rebuild that defence and look towards the expansion draft at the same time.

      Emphasis will be placed even more on amature drafting and trading on picks as protection will be crucial.

  • hockey1099

    Hind sight is 20/20. He didn’t play well here. Maybe a change of scenery or a new coach has helped him. Maybe he figured out he needs to work Harder after being dumped by the oilers. Maybe he is just having a nice little 10 game run.

    It’s not like he is what the oilers need. We have plenty of guys that can fill that 4-6 dman role. What we need are top 2 dmen. Being top 3 in Toronto is like being top 3 in Edmonton. You are playing way above where you would on a good team.

        • Dwayne Roloson 35

          I don’t think he was out of shape IIRC. Pretty sure he worked hard in the summer and put on some weight. He then played 1 average PRE SEASON(those games where you knock the rust off) game and was thrown into the mac-Teakins dog house.

          Mac-t or Eakins said something like “duhhh gotta earn your spot” and then gifted Scrivens the #1 job even though Fasth outplayed him in the preseason. Scrivens had an 89SV% and Fasth had a 94SV%.

      • hockey1099

        Does MM make a healthy oilers dcore? Is he better than sekera, Davidson or klef? How about nurse, does his experience outweigh nurses aggressiveness.? We are stacked on left d from the second pairing down.

        • camdog

          Nurse should be in the minors working on his positional and puck play. Absolutely no reason for him to be in the NHL for his aggressiveness. If he’s brought around right he can be so much more than that.

        • I’d say with Davidson’s emergence there wouldn’t be a need for MM long term on the left side anymore. However, if he were here now, Nurse could be logging 25+ mins a night in the AHL. Reinhart would be doing the same.

          • hockey1099

            If he was on the oilers at the beginning of the season where does play? Nurse was in the minors then as we were healthy. I don’t think he beats out any of our three left d men at the start of the season. So either you play him out of position which always helps a player excel or he sits as a 7th dman. 50th best dman in the league doesn’t crack our line up if it is healthy. Sometimes advanced stats just seem meaningless. This guy was a 6/7 dmen on a terrible Toronto team until they dumped bodies. If he was on St. Louis, the wild or the preds he wouldn’t be in the nhl.

          • Verdad3.0

            The obvious move was to keep Marincin, buy out Ference and Nikitin, just let Schultz leave, never have done the Reinhart trade, trade Nurse and/or RNH for real right hand defensive leadership and move on.

          • hockey1099

            Buying out Nikki made no sense from a cap perspective. Buying out ference will be done this summer. According to you every player kept is wrong and every player moved is wrong. MM is a depth defencemen on the oilers and the leafs. Those are the two worst teams in the league. MM is not a game changer we are talking about a possible 7th defencemen that isn’t physical and can’t stop a cycle. I wouldn’t want him anywhere near my team. Good luck stopping a cycle by la or San Jose or the ducks with him on the ice.

            But tell me where he plays on our team. He is a left defencemen. Whose spot does he take at the beginning of the season? Is it klef, sekera or Davidson?

            And lol at calling it a debacle. It’s a 7th defencemen. You can get those guys on waivers.

      • Explicit

        I think I might have a completely different philosophy towards the game of hockey than you. It’s not a bad thing, and I could be clueless and wrong(wouldn’t be the first time) but I’m kinda glad Marincin is gone, just like I’m glad Petry is gone.

        Funny time to write a “I miss marincin” article after the first multi point game in his career. But the guy has 1 goal and 16 points in 137 career games. Now granted getting points isn’t his main priority, but it’s still pretty bad for a guy who’s suppose to be able to move the puck.

        he’s got a good stick and all you’re fancy mathlete stats sounds good, and makes me think he’s obviously doing something right, and good on him. He’s a good hockey player. But the guy is a push over, can’t stop a cycle, can’t clear the front of the net, has a weak shot and doesn’t really bring anything to the table.

        The guy can obviously play at the NHL level, but he doesn’t do anything but try to tread water, and to his credit he seems to tread water pretty well.

        But if I’m a GM of an NHL hockey team I don’t see how marincin fits into a quality Dcore and helps me win games in the playoffs. He just doesn’t bring a dimension, he’s just kinda there, treading water.

  • Dwayne Roloson 35

    I really like Gryba but we probably could have gotten him without trading Marincin. Sure we’d have even more of a logjam on D but I don’t think that’s a bad thing.

    Anyone remember how mary and pippin(marincin and petry) were our best defence pair? IIRC Marincin was being thrown to the wolves on a shutdown line and was still posting about a 50% corsi.

  • DannyGallivan

    I don’t know what Chia’s plans are for the D but I have to believe he has them. Clearly he felt Marincin did not fit. Perhaps a 181 lb., Left Handed 24 year old D named Marincin was not part of them. He already has Klef (215 lb, 22), Nurse (213; 21), Reinhart (212; 22) and Sekera (200, 29) and perhaps he thought 4 heavier skilled Left D were enough and that he should make minutes for those 4 and look for a Right D to fill our gaping hole there. I also assume Stanley Cup winning GM Chia can make his own decisions.

    IMHO statistics are a great tool as a small part of evaluating an individual and his role within a team, but they are only a part. If we depended on Corsi to make decisions then we could hire a mathematician instead of a GM and save a lot of money in the process. No question he makes a great contribution on the Leafs – good for them/him. They are 30th, we are 29th. We both need to do better.

    PS: “MM is one of the best defensive defensemen in the NHL”. If we were in the schoolyard picking D for our team, MM would not be in my top 50 regardless of the stats.

  • TKB2677

    I knew an article like this was coming from Mr. Henderson who’s a hardcore believer in corsi and advanced stats and a big Marincin fan because he’s apparently a good corsi guy somehow.

    Can anyone remind me where Marincin was playing before the trades and the injury to Hunwick? Anyone? Oh right, he was playing 14 mins a night on their 3rd pairing.

    Then they traded away Phaneuf for NOTHING.
    Then they traded away Polak for NOTHING.
    Hunwick got hurt.

    In the Leafs current top 6, they have:
    Rielly – Marincin
    Gardiner and some guy named Carrick.
    Valiev – Corrado.

    Valiev has played 3 NHL games total.
    Corrado has 54 NHL games total. 28 of those games are when the Leafs picked him off of waivers.
    Carrick has 46 games total.

    So exactly who the hell is better than Marincin on the Leafs other than Rielly and Gardiner? NOBODY.

    He doesn’t hit anyone, doesn’t score any points, isn’t tough, won’t stand up for a teammate, he’s not a difference maker. When guys like Marincin are your main guys, chances are you aren’t a very good team and don’t win much. Case in point the Oilers and Leafs. When Martin Marincin plays meaningful minutes on a good team rather than the bottom feeding Oilers who had a horrible defense last year and the bottom feeding Leafs this year who have a horrible defense before the trades and are even worse now, then come talk to me and write about him. Otherwise it’s a waist of an article.

    To further my point. Adam Pardy has looked pretty good on the Oilers since being plucked off waivers. He looks good because the Oilers defense is so lousy and inexperienced, anyone remotely mediocre is an improvement over guys like Nikitin, Clendening to name a couple.

  • Oilerchild77

    Martin Marincin is one of the best defenders in the NHL… Hahahahahhahaha. Thanks Matt. Needed a laugh. I mean he is good… In the third pairing against weaker matchups in a weaker conference. Come on man!

  • JimmyV1965

    I’m stunned about the volume of discussion and huge opinions either way for a guy like Marincin. He’s a fringe player at best. Even his biggest supporters cannot believe he’s a top 4 dman on a decent team. Zzzzzzzzz

  • TKB2677

    Could Marincin be a 5-7 guy on more than just the Oilers or Leafs who have terrible defense? Probably. But there is no way a good team can afford to have a guy in their top 4 who doesn’t hit anyone, isn’t tough and doesn’t score any points. He’s got 5 points in 52 games this season. ZERO goals. Gryba has 1 goal and pts points and no one is going to say he’s anything more than a 3rd pairing guy. As bad as the Oilers defense is, Marincin is not better than Sekera or Klefbomb, not even close. He’s not better than Davidson. It’s debatable if he is better than Nurse. He’s got more experience but Nurse has a hell of a lot more to his game and is more of an impact player.

  • ET

    This website is a joke! It seems that I am banned from posting any comments and I can only imagine it is because of the negative comments I have tried to post about Gregor and his absolute ineptitude. Oh and my dislike for Taylor Hall and the negative comments I post about him. Nice try about trying to say you allow all opinions and all anyone has to do is get a login set up and be sure to keep it clean. I always do and my Mom would be perfectly fine with what I post, except she could never see it as they never get posted. Like I said, you guys are just a joke but now that I know that I won’t have to waste any more time here. Free speech my ass ON!!!!!

  • Sheldon "Oilers Fan for Life!!!"

    All our players do quite well in the east. Trading for a D-man who does well over in the far east is no better than bringing up someone from the minors. I want someone who is proven in the west or at least makes western teams suffer when he visits over here.

  • Mo'kron

    I too liked Marincin, and even though he had an underwhelming year when he was traded so did nearly everyone on the team. When the trade was announced I remember yelling “WTF why?!” seems he still had potential. Maybe trading him in a package this summer for Hamonic would have worked? Anyways what irks me the most is what you said “but Peter Chiarelli got some pretty terrible intel and moved out a player..” He received some terrible intel from the same guys who urged him to trade for Reinhart. Smells like the Lowe/MacT/Howson 3 headed monster. Why are these men still with the organization and contributing to the decision making. I want these guys out of the organization as much as I want a top pairing Dman to join it this summer.

  • camdog

    Given that Mactavish was dealing on Talbot, is it then assumed that the Talbot deal was made by the old regime as well? Or is it just the bad moves that were influenced by the old regime?

  • toprightcorner

    I can’t wait until the sign him to a $12 mill 4 year contract and next year he will be back to Mr. Inconsistency and in the Babcock doghouse struggling to make it on the 3rd pairing.

    No team over hypes their average players more than the Leafs, and I suppose Craig MacTavish, but he technically isn’t a team

    • Verdad3.0

      Marincin was a totally functional defenseman last season.
      Probably the only one.
      Anyone who watched video tape would have come to that conclusion and known that Schultz was cancerous garbage at the same time.
      But not the bungler CHiarelli.
      We have the unsalvageable stiff Reinhart and another lost season to savor.

      • toprightcorner

        So genius, how would he fit behind Sekera, Klefbom, Davidson and Nurse? Not much room on the left side is there?

        On Toronto he is ranked 7th on ice time among demen at just over 15 min a game, not exactly an asset they rely upon very much.

        Marincin is not the type of player people should waste time crying about trading him away.

        He played small on a small team that plays small not exactly a match made in heaven.

        For such a PC hater, I would think that you could come up with better reasons to have him fired than Marincin, your posts are basically irrelevant if thats the best you can muster.

  • CMG30

    The MM trade is just one more example of the MacTavish era faceplant and one more reason to hope that Chirelli wakes up and starts the off-season right by handing MacTavish & Co. their walking papers.

    Sure MM was anything but a fan favorite in Edmonton, largely because he was ‘soft’ and didn’t ‘look’ right on the ice. But a GM needs to have better sense than that. A GM needs to understand what’s working even if it’s not conventional. Instead we have yet another example of the same old people making decisions about this team for reasons other than winning.

    When MacTavish was first hired as GM, I had high hopes for his tenure. No more. He’s the wrong guy.

  • Verdad3.0

    look at their record
    All you need to know about Chiarelli

    Nothing he has done has made this team better
    Just confront the reality of the standings

    Biggest errors were of omission

    Just watch tonight’s defeat for more validation of the fact he should be fired

  • Max

    Life is full of ‘what ifs”, it’s done, Marty is gone and no amount of rehashing it will make any difference. Reinhart is bigger, tougher and has a good shot, he may work out and he may not. It is what it is. Right now, I’m more concerned with who and what we trade for and pick up in the off season…………..we have a lot of dead wood to get rid of without worrying about what could have been.

  • Max

    I don’t know who Verdad3.0 is, or who or what he THINKS he is. Obviously we were wrong to hire PC as Verdad3.0 was probably available as he had no legitimate employment at that time or now. It’s so easy to go from welfare bum who has nothing better to do than troll this website to Oilers GM. Man were we ever wrong not to pick him, NOT.

    Verdad3.0 has absolutely no clue how to be a decent human being, let alone an NHL GM. The less press time we give him the better, because as with all trolls, they feed on their own stupidity.