There's one thing we can be pretty sure about when we make this list, even with the players we've got ranked inside the Top 15: not everyone is going to make it. Over the last few days, we've seen profiles for Martin Gernat, Dillon Simpson, and David Musil, we've got Martin Marincin today, and Oscar Klefbom is still to come. That's five left-handed defenders not currently playing in the NHL.
|Rank||Player||DOB||Drafted||Year||Alan ||Ben ||Bruce ||DB ||Derek ||Jon||Michael||Ryan||Scott|
Martin Marincin is considered by most of our panel to be the second-best prospect in that group of five. Derek, however, ended up ranking him lower than anyone else by virtue of having him third (behind Dillon Simpson), but Derek's not really any less bullish than the rest of us:
I have nothing against Marincin, and I'm surprised that I'm the low man here. He's big and rangy and with Colten Teubert and Alex Plante falling off of the face of the earth, the kid has every opportunity to make good. I have him behind Simpson by the smallest of margins.
I've got Marincin the highest overall by virtue of placing him ahead of a couple of forwards, Magnus Paajarvi and Teemu Hartikainen. The reason is simple. Although Paajarvi and Hartikainen are both more likely than Marincin to play at least 200 NHL games, I think that Marincin is more likely to be an impact player. It's my opinion that Martin Marincin has a pretty good chance to play top four minutes in the NHL, and that he's positioned well to hold off Gernat, Simpson, and Musil all of whom will be a year behind in the fight for an NHL job.
The primary reason for my optimism is the excellent transition Marincin has made from the CHL to the AHL. Marincin leads the Oklahoma City in plus/minus with a +14 rating, which is also good enough for third among rookie defenders, behind 23-year-old Dmitry Korobov, and NHLer Jamie Oleksiak. The statistic has some flaws no doubt, but that's a good enough number to know with some confidence that the player isn't drowning.
With 19 points through 48 games, Marincin has also brought a good chunk of his offense with him from the CHL, and this despite his getting very limited opportunity on the power play (he has just three power play points). That's a very encouraging sign, especially since the Oilers seem to be looking for defenders who can move the puck. Add to that Marincin's physical stature (6'5'' and just south of 200 lbs.), and his not-insignifcant mean streak, and you've got a prospect tailor-made for the Edmonton Oilers.
There are, of course, reasons to be cautious. Marincin played near the start of the season with Justin Schultz on OKC's top pairing, but there have been times during the season that Todd Nelson has needed to either sit him out as a healthy scratch or push him down the line-up. From my perspective, that's a part of the learning process, and it pleases me that Marincin will likely get this whole season at the AHL level with the cover he needs when he's struggling but the opportunity to move up when he's playing well. I expect we'll start to see a similar process at work in the NHL in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Check out the complete Top 25 Under 25 List in our