MONDAY VIDEOS: Practice Story
| Bryzgalov's Mask
The Edmonton Oilers have a wealth of young budding defensive talent coming down the pipe. When you look at prospects like Darnell Nurse (7th overall in 2013) and Oscar Klefbom (19th overall in 2011), help appears to be on the way and the future looks bright for the Oilers blue line.
One of the organization's recent high defensive draft picks has been settling in nicely as of late. Martin Marincin earned his first NHL call up earlier this season and, after being re-assigned to Oklahoma City a few games later, has returned for his second stint with the club. The difference in his play has been noticeable.
“He’s more assertive,” said Head Coach Dallas Eakins. “I think when you get that first one you’re nervous, you don’t dare want to make a mistake and I think you play hesitant a lot of times. When we sent him back, Craig (MacTavish) and I sat with him and gave him a very clear outline of what we needed him to be better at and most of it comes from being assertive and playing like he does in the American League. He’s come back and he’s done that for the most part."
The former 2nd round pick, 46th overall in 2010, says being assertive was a focus for him upon his short return to the AHL.
"I talked with the GM and coach after my first call up and they said that to me," he said. "I've just tried to work on this and I feel good."
Marincin is just 21 years-old and has some maturing to do as he looks towards full-time NHL duty.
“He’s got a lot of growing to do, he’s got a lot to learn about the game, but the thing he gives us back there is size," said Eakins. "He’s not a heavy guy yet. He still looks like boy but his range with that stick, he can get us out of trouble with that long, long range.”
The young Slovakia native says he understands the need to 'fill out' his 6-foot-4 frame and it is a major off-season focus for him.
"I'm trying and trying every summer," he said. I have a couple of workouts in season but we are busy in season so that's hard to go for a workout and (build) muscle. I try and work out in the summer."
Marincin gained valuable experience last season with the Oklahoma City Barons. During the NHL work stoppage, the Oilers prospect had a chance to play with established NHL players like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle while being paired with AHL Defenceman of the Year, Justin Schultz.
"That was great for me to play with NHL guys. For sure, that helped me. But, I don't know, my first game, I was nervous."
As with every rookie making their NHL debut, Marincin confesses that he was nervous when he took the ice against Colorado on December 5. Since being sent down to OKC and returning to Edmonton, those nerves are gone.
"Now, I feel good. Every game, I feel better and better, I feel stronger and that's good for me."
The Oilers have invested numerous recent draft picks on bolstering their blue line depth. They are hoping that they struck gold with this prospect, who is making the case to stick with Edmonton for further evaluation as the season moves forward.
He saw his largest workload of his seven-game NHL career, last night against Tampa Bay, when he skated for 17:14 in the 5-3 victory.
"Just play simple," Marincin said of his goals this season. "Be good in the (defensive zone) and try to help the team to win."