Edmonton - September 29, 2014 - While the Edmonton Oilers dropped their second pre-season decision in four outings on Sunday afternoon in Saskatoon, falling 5-0 to the Chicago Blackhawks “B - Squad”, their win/loss record in exhibition games doesn’t mean a damn thing.
At the end of the day, all that truly matters is whether or not the players are rounding into form prior to the start of the 2014-15 campaign. With that said, one guy who has had a rather uninspiring start to camp has been defenceman Martin Marincin.
While most fans viewed the towering blueliner as a near lock to start the year in Edmonton, things may not be so cut and dry when it comes to the twenty-two year old rearguard. In my mind there are five guys who all but guaranteed spots and those players would be Mark Fayne, Andrew Ference, Nikita Nikitin, Jeff Petry and Justin Schultz.
When it comes to the final two slots, they could quite literally go any number of ways. In the eyes of many, Marincin was the front runner heading into camp but in my mind there is no way on earth he is ahead of Oscar Klefbom on the Oilers depth chart. Either player can still be sent down to Oklahoma City to start the year and outside of Keith Aulie, the big Slovak has arguably been the worst of the bunch when it comes to guys who have a legitimate shot at making this roster out of camp.
Despite having added roughly fifteen pounds of weight to his frame over the summer, Marincin still appears to be far too easy to play against and has looked almost disinterested through each and every one of his three pre-season outings. While it may only be exhibition hockey, the fact he has been as poor he has been has to have those within the inner workings of the organization a little concerned.
With Petry still nursing the shoulder he apparently just “tweaked” during the first day of training camp and Ference leaving yesterday’s tilt with the Hawks after blocking a shot with his arm, allowing Marincin the opportunity to simply work his way through his struggles isn’t really an option for this coaching staff to seriously consider.
The Oilers can ill afford to get off to another slow start and put themselves behind the eight ball after the opening month of the season. This fan base simply won’t stand for it and Dallas Eakins will ultimately have his hand forced. Either Martin Marincin starts playing a whole lot better or he will find himself as a member of the Oklahoma City Barons to the start the year.