The Toronto Maple Leafs have placed defenseman Martin Marincin on waivers as of Noon on Saturday.
This kind of move was a matter of time with the Leafs carrying nine defensemen on a full 23-man roster following the Jake Muzzin acquisition (12F, 9D, 2G, with Tyler Ennis on IR).
Martin Marincin has shown reasonably well in spot duty while appearing in ten games and playing limited minutes (15:07/game) on the left side of the bottom pairing — arguably better than Justin Holl in his two appearances — but Holl is right-handed and the addition of another left-handed shot to the mix in Muzzin made this inevitable.
The other option was to send down Igor Ozhiganov, who is waiver exempt on an entry-level deal, but the contract he signed to come over from the KHL includes a Euro Assignment Clause and the team wants him working on his game in practice with the big club anyway (they’d be wise to rotate him in and give Hainsey the odd night off before the playoffs, but that would involve Babcock budging for a night as far as his reliance on Hainsey on the penalty kill and in general).
Also factoring in, should the Leafs lose Marincin to a waiver claim, is that they have a left-handed defenseman in Calle Rosen who is free to move up and down on an entry-level deal in case of injury. Rosen, who recently signed a two-year contract extension kicking in at the end of the season, has more than earned a look with 32 points in 42 AHL games this season. The Leafs don’t have an option ready to call-up on the right side on the Marlies, so Holl stays and Marincin goes.
With Marincin’s $800,000 salary either down in the minors or claimed, the Leafs can now also bank more cap space heading towards the deadline, with GM Kyle Dubas by no means done exploring his options to improve the team.