The Toronto Maple Leafs have traded Brad Ross and the 107th overall pick to the Edmonton Oilers for 6’4 left handed defenseman Martin Marincin.
The 23 year old has 85 NHL games to his name, and at one point formed a reasonably solid top four defense pairing with now-Montreal Canadien Jeff Petry.
Brad Ross effectively washed out of the AHL due to poor play and being suspended for PED use. The Leafs acquiring an actual NHLer — or at the very least a player who has shown he can handle the NHL — in exchange for a guy who played his way out of the AHL, along with the mystery box that is the 107th overall pick, is a stroke of genius.
On defense the Leafs now have five left handed shots: Dion Phaneuf, Morgan Rielly, Jake Gardiner, Tim Erixon, Stuart Percy, and of course Marincin. Phaneuf and Rielly have proven they can play the right side well, where the Leafs currently have only Roman Polak and Stephane Robidas as true right handers.
This is the kind of move the Leafs should be making at this stage in their build — a buy low on a player with some promise and proven ability that needs an opportunity. On an awful Oilers team, Marincin has a career 48.3CF%, and proved able to hold his own in tough match-ups.
The Edmonton Journal’s Bruce McCurdy had this to say about his past season:
After a promising rookie campaign in 2013-14, Marincin took a couple of steps back this past season. It started when he showed up to camp packing a (reported) extra 15 pounds, added at the club’s behest. By eye he looked sluggish in camp, not helped by the fact that he kept getting put out on the right (his wrong) side, paired with young hopefuls not ready for prime time as Dallas Eakins took forever to winnow down his defence corps. When he finally did, a surprising (and surprised) victim of the process was Marincin. From there it took him better part of half a season to claw his way back to the bigs.
The knocks against him are many, largely based on eye-witness evaluations. “He’s got no jam!” goes one common refrain. “He’s not heavy on his stick. He not a banger, and he doesn’t generate much offence. He’s just there.”
His strengths are mostly subtle ones. You could build a scale model of the guy out of pipe cleaners, you’d just need extra long ones to represent his limbs and feet, complete with a stick that could clean a pipe a block away. Nice soft hands control that far-reaching stick, which wins many puck battles so effortlessly as to not appear to be battles at all. Observers who focus primarily on physical confrontations tend to find him wanting, and even his supporters no doubt wish he’d lean on people a little bit more. But watch how often he wins/maintains possession of the puck and one can get a sense of a real player here, albeit one who is still learning the ropes.
It is a good buy low move for the Leafs with virtually no risk. With just a washing out Brad Ross and the 107th pick to show for it, the Oilers risk Marincin becoming a full-time NHL defenseman and having egg on their faces for trading him for so little. Defensemen who are 6’4, can move the puck and handle some tough assignments don’t grow on trees.