Martin Marincin was drafted out of the top Slovakian league, which meant that we really didn't know a lot about him. During his first WHL season, he let us know in a big way. During the first half Marincin registered 35 points in 33 games before leaving for the World Junior Championships. His second half wasn't quite as good (21 points in 34 games), but the season as a whole was excellent. Marincin ended the year fifth on the team in scoring and a full 40 points clear of the next closest defenseman on his team. Plus, the general feeling was that the tough travel schedule had actually hurt him. When Andrey Osadchenko asked him about it earlier this season, this is what Marincin had to say:
It's horrible. At first it was really tough, but now I've gotten used to this more or less, so it's a little better.
Pretty unequivocal on that one! Put that together with the fact that the Pats are a better team, and I can't imagine Marincin was too upset when he got the news that he'd been traded from Prince George to Regina.
Unfortunately, his offense this year hasn't even kept up with last season's pace, or even last season's second half pace. In 30 games with the Cougars, Marincin registered just 17 points, and in 12 games with the Pats, Marincin has just 6 points so far. So why is Marincin still so high on our list?
|Rank||Player||DOB||Drafted||Year||Ben ||Bruce ||DB ||Derek ||Jon||Ryan||Scott|
As you can see, he's maintained his position, but no one has him among the club's elite young players. Really, he's at the top end of the second group of players who show good potential but have significant flaws. Marincin just has fewer flaws than most. At 6'4'', he clearly has the size to play in the NHL, and even though he wasn't drafted in the first round, his draft pedigree is a plus for him compared to players like Gernat, Davidson, Bigos, and Blain. His offense hasn't been spectacular so far this season, but it's been solid, and very good in the past. And even this season, the offensive output is probably a bit better than it seems. Last season, Marincin was in on 23.1% of Prince George's goals in the games that he actually played. This season, Marincin has split his time between Prince George and Regina and has been in on 21.1% of the goals scored in the games that he's played with both teams. It's a decline, and with the player a year older that isn't a good thing, but it's not exactly massive drop.
In the World Juniors, Marincin was one of the most important players for a Slovakian squad that made it to the quarterfinals, and was generally paired with fellow-Oiler prospect, Martin Gernat. In the games I watched, Marincin was consistently one of the better players on the ice. Bruce McCurdy watched the Slovaks play against Finland, and offered an in depth take on Marincin (and Gernat), a snippet of which is quoted below:
For sure [Marincin] grabbed my attention much more frequently [than Gernat] over the course of the game. He seemed to be around the puck quite a bit more, making good decisions with it for the most part, didn't try to shoot when the shot wasn't there but was content to work it around with his slick passing skills. Defensively, Marincin's stick always seemed to be in there fishing for the puck, and he hooked it free more than once. His reach is so spectacularly long that he is able to maintain gap control and still get his blade into the puck carrier's kitchen all at once. Marincin looked real solid on the breakout, very composed and commanding.
That's exactly the kind of thing you like to hear. Bruce's take on Marincin's defensive game is particularly useful since that's often very difficult to measure, and yet is probably much more important than his ability to contribute offense. Obviously, it's not wise to make generalizations based on that one game, but Bruce's take is consistent with the impressions I've heard from others.
In the end, this take from Kirk Leudeke before Marincin was drafted looks to be on the right track:
Defines what scouts are talking about when they say, "Good upside, but..." Has a lot of kinks to work out in his game yet. Marincin is the kind of player who polarizes opinions on him because he tends to perform in extremes. His size and mobility are what every NHL team looks for, but he's not likely to be a player who puts up a lot of points at that level if he ever reaches it.
He's a player who has some offensive ability, but at the next level, will probably need to rely on his ability in other areas in order to be effective. So even though the offense is falling off, I'm encouraged by reports like Bruce's as well as my own viewings, which suggest that those kinks he needed to work out are coming along nicely.