| |Martin Marincin is the first defenceman the Oilers selected in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
LOS ANGELES – It’s not often you find 6-foot-4 defencemen with World Junior Championship experience in the second round.
With the Oilers making a play to seize opportunity and develop a potential force on the blueline, Slovakian defenceman Martin Marincin was swooped up with the 46th overall pick and in the second round of the NHL Entry Draft at Staples Center.
The pick came with a cost attached. The Oilers were able to grab Marincin by trading away the rights of Riley Nash to the Carolina Hurricanes, who was one of three first round selections by the Oilers in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. He never signed.
“He wasn’t willing to come out,” said Oilers General Manager Steve Tambellini. “He has another year (at Cornell) and he’s free. We made the decision to move on.”
Thus, the spotlight shifted onto the pick of Marincin, who was a part of the much heralded “Year of the Defenceman” in the 2010 draft.
One of 68 blueliners taken by NHL teams, the most out of any position this year, his game is built on a package of size, strength, swift skating ability and on-ice vision that turned heads in the World Junior Championships last season for Slovakia, when he served as team captain for the Under-18 squad.
“Last season was very good for me,” said Marincin through a translator at the combine. “It was a great experience. I like the style. I think I’m able to play here.”
It was enough to catapult him to the highest-ranked European skater honor, among all defencemen in this year’s Central Scouting Bureau Rankings. He finished 10th overall in the European column.
An admitted fan of the TV show “Step by Step,” Marincin now takes the culture he viewed on television from afar and becomes a part of it. His second time ever in North America this year, he was the next Los Angeles to receive his traditional jersey and Oilers cap before being shuttled off for promotional photos.
Moving away from his native home in Kosice, where he once played against several Slovakian-born NHL players in an all-star game, he prepares possibly for a new lifestyle in culture in North America.
Eligible for the CHL import draft on next Tuesday, he isn’t shy about his near ambitions, which could hold the key to unlocking his NHL future.
“Next season my goal is to play in North America in the CHL,” said Marincin, who has been part of swelling rumours of being picked #1, overall by Prince George of the WHL. “It doesn’t matter if it’s the Western, Ontario or Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. I’m hoping to get an opportunity to get a tryout next summer.”
However, Oilers Head Scout Stu MacGregor sees, perhaps, a higher level in his near future.
Maybe Oklahoma City bound?
“We may end up putting in the American Hockey League,” said MacGregor. “We’re not sure yet, we’re going to take a look at that and see if he can make that jump. We need to talk to his agent and see where that’s going to go. We’re happy to have him.”
At #46 overall, it might be opportunity seized for the Oilers.