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Top 25 Under 25 - #11 - Martin Marincin

Harry How

After a large grouping of blueline prospects from numbers 17-14 on the list we took a brief hiatus from the focus on defensemen to look at Tyler Pitlick and Anton Lander. The reason for that hiatus is because Martin Marincin has somewhat separated himself from the rest of the cluster of rearguard prospects in the eyes of the Copper & Blue Staff.

Marincin had a slow start to his season, but finsihed strong and is expected to receive significant opportunities with the Barons in OKC in 2012/13. After the jump, we'll look at why he has been able to stay somewhat clear of the pack in the minds of our panel.

Rank Player DOB Drafted Year Alan
Jon Ryan Scott
11 Martin Marincin 1992-02-18
46 2010
12 10 10 12 14 12 11 11

Previous Rank: 11

There is some consistency among the panel in how they have evaluated Marincin in his final WHL season. After an excellent campaign in 2010/11 where he produced 14g-42a-56p in 67 games (0.83 ppg), Marincin's numbers dipped slightly this season 11g-29p-40p in 58 games (0.69 ppg), which would normally be a cause for concern, so why did Marincin's ranking hold steady?

Well, looking at Marincin's season, as I referenced at the top of the article, it really consisted of two separate halves that produced drastically different results.

At the start of the season, Marincin was playing with the Prince George Cougars just as he had the previous season. However, the Cougars were a drastically different team this year, and not for the better. Marincin struggled somewhat offensively, producing only 17 points in 30 games. At that point in the season, he was dealt to the Regina Pats, a much more competitive team and he responded favourably, posting 23 points in 28 games for the Pats.

At the end of the season, Marincin was able to join the OKC Barons of the AHL and played in 6 games where he posted one assist and an impressive +4 rating (though it was an extremely small sample size).

Part of what Marincin currently has working in his favour as compared to the other Oiler prospects is a one year head start in North American pro hockey. That may not sound like something that should set him apart from the others, but I believe it is noteworthy. While Oscar Klefbom is likely to spend another season in the SEL before coming over to North America (and may potentially require some AHL time at that point) and Martin Gernat won't turn pro until next year, Marincin will likely receive a chance to show his abilities in Oklahoma City this season which should allow him a chance to prove himself ready for a shot in the NHL at an earlier date than other Oiler prospects with similar skill sets with the exception of Taylor Fedun. Given the current state of the Oiler blueline, it would seem that Marincin may be the first Oiler draftee to benefit from the team's inability to address their defensive deficiencies in Edmonton.

Opportunity aside, Marincin is wothy of being considered a significant prospect based on his abilities alone as well. In a recent analysis of Oiler prospects for Hockey Prospectus, here is how Corey Pronman evaluated him:

The Good: Marincin is a big defender with a lot of physical tools with desirable upside. He skates well for his size, is mobile in all directions, and at times flashes true above-average ability in that area. He has good puck skills and puck-moving ability to create offense on his own and is looked to quarterback power plays to create for others as well as manning the top of the umbrella on the power play this year in the WHL.

The Bad: Marincin improved significantly on his consistency issues this year but he'll have odd brain cramp moment and still has some work to do in his defensive game. His physical game isn't an issue, but he could use his body a little more.

Projection: I could see a path where he becomes an above-average second pairing guy, but I'd say it's unlikely.

There is a lot of good there. I agree with his assessment that Marincin has a lot of the tools necessary to become a significant player. As for the bad, I don't disagree with any of it, but I will point out that those same issues are true of virtually all blueline prospects before they turn pro. The ability to make faster, smarter decisions and to be more consistent is a hallmark of the "needs to improve" list for up and coming defenders, and I'd wager that some time and experience with a strong coaching staff in OKC could help him improve in those areas.

Lastly, I consider Pronman's projection to be pretty reasonable. Marincin's ceiling is likely as a solid but unspectacular top 4 player. The likelihood of him achieveing that level is something that is up to personal interpretation. I would like to point out though that this is not a bad thing. If he can turn in to the type of player that Jeff Petry is now (I think Petry has another level he can reach that Marincin may not) that is a HUGE success for the Oilers. Not every prospect needs to turn out to be a franchise cornerstone in order to be considered successful. If Marincin can become a mainstay in a the top 4 with the likes of Petry, Smid and eventually Justin Schultz, the Oilers won't likely be complaining. With a group that includes Klefbom, Gernat, David Musil, Dillon Simpson and possibly Fedun and Brandon Davidson coming along the pipeline behind him, the Oilers would then have a good chance at filling out a strong young blueline internally over the next few years or moving some of their strong prospect depth on the back-end for more immediate solutions.

Much like any prospect, Marincin still has a ways to go in his development, but if he can continue to progress in his first pro season, he can go a long way to solidifying himself as the prospect most likely to get the first crack at NHL employment.