It was a bit of a surprise to see Martin Marincin’s name on the list of players assigned to Oklahoma City this morning. The 22-year-old played 44 games with the Oilers last season and, at times, was arguably the team’s best defenceman.
But Marincin struggled to hit his stride in camp and that, coupled with the club wanting to give Darnell Nurse and Brad Hunt their earned opportunity, led to the Oilers making a tough decision.
“I think, throughout training camp, there was a lot of competition for defencemen and I think you’re looking at different areas of strength and a bit of a different mix than having Marty,” General Manager Craig MacTavish said. “Marty is very good and played very well for us last year. Sending Marty down was one of those difficult decisions. It’s not a decision we can’t unwind in a very short period of time. I think, from my perspective, the decision was at what point do we give Brad Hunt the opportunity? At what point do we keep Darnell here and give him some games to see where his development is.
“I think we can all agree that Darnell is just going to continue to get better and better with this experience. Brad Hunt is a guy that we all like for his ability to provide offence. Does Marty Marincin do some things better than Brad Hunt? Absolutely. But Brad Hunt definitely does some things that can help us in an area of need. That’s difficult for Marty, but it is his third year of his entry level deal, it’s the last year that we have to try and test-drive a couple of other players before we have to make a clear decision, because quite clearly if we were going to have to put Marty on waivers we likely would have lost him.”