Edited Jan 15 at 8:07
Marincin has played a role and done it without griping. Some perennial 8th D-Men will look elsewhere to ensure they stay in the NHL or get more mins/more games. Marincin has happily played in the AHL for much of the past 4 years, including playoff games (which are unpaid!), when his services have not been required by the Leafs. In the AHL he’s an effective shutdown D-Man who’s able to kill penalties and is good in the locker room at mentoring the numerous young Marlies D-Men.
As noted, while he will be earning a guaranteed $0.7M on a 1-way contract, none of that will count against the cap when he is not on the Leafs roster and, when he is on the Leafs roster you’re not going to find a cheaper contract to fill out your 5th, 6th or 7th D-Man slots. With where the Leafs are at, anything higher than league minimum or an ELC is just no longer tenable in the bottom pairing nor most of the bottom-6. There’s better D-Men but the Leafs can’t afford them.
I for one am happy MarMar is coming back. It’s good to have continuity and loyalty, an intangible quality that is so often lost these days. He’s another member of the Calder Cup championship team from 2018 that is now forming almost half the Leafs roster and he was a big part of that win (played top pair D with Hollsy for the Marlies back then). It’s great to see so many of these players progress to playing FT for the Leafs (with more to come)!
In sum, MarMar will never be a Top-4 defender in the NHL (edit: checks current Leafs depth chart on Cap Friendly....well sheeeeeeet, that’s why we’ve been allowing 6 goals per game) but anyways, *ordinarily* when he plays in an appropriate role, he does it well and without griping.