36-Year-Old Defenseman – San Jose Sharks
Paul Martin Contract Information:
Signed a four-year, $19.4 million contract with the Sharks in July 2015.
Martin (ankle) skated prior to Monday's practice and is expected to rejoin the team later this week, Curtis Pashelka of The San Jose Mercury News reports.
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Paul Martin: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
RotoWire's Preseason Outlooks
In his first year in San Jose, Martin scored three goals and 17 assists Ė the identical amount he recorded in the season before with Pittsburgh. Heís a stable veteran presence that isnít going to chip in on the scoresheet much more than that, so the 35-year-oldís fantasy utility will most likely be limited to only the deepest of leagues. The Minneapolis native posted similarly unspectacular numbers last year in terms of PIM (22), shots on goal (49) and hits (54), but didnít fare all that bad when it came to plus-minus (plus-13) and blocked shots (123), so you can give him a bump in your rankings if your league counts those. Also, despite having spent at least a couple minutes per game on the power play in Pittsburgh over his five-year tenure there, Martin averaged just 42 seconds with the man advantage in San Jose, which further limits his scoring chances.
The Sharks showed where their priorities were on the first day of this summer's free agency by signing Martin to a four-year contract to shore up their defensive corps. While he's currently projected to land on the second defensive pairing, it doesn't seem unreasonable that Martin could end up rising to top-pairing minutes alongside Brent Burns, but even if he does, he'll still be a stay-at-home defenseman with relatively little fantasy upside. Martin saw huge amounts of power-play minutes at times with the Penguins, but he rarely took advantage of that premium ice time, and at age 34, he's not likely to experience a sudden offensive surge.
Due primarily to a broken leg, Martin played in only 39 games last year, scoring three goals and 15 points. The 33-year-old saw big minutes last season, averaging a team-high 24:34 time on ice whenever he was healthy. He figures to take a lead role once again in 2014-15, but there's a chance the team could move him, given that he's in the final year of a five-year, $25-million deal. Some argue that Pittsburgh's power play operates best when Martin is quarterbacking it -- 47 percent of his points have come on the man-advantage the last two years. Christian Ehrhoff and youngsters like Olli Maatta and Derrick Pouliot could eat into Martin's power-play time, but with Matt Niskanen leaving for Washington there might be a little less competition -- at least to start the season. In the end, Martin is thought of as more of a puck-moving defenseman than as a true offensive threat, but he can also chip in with his fair share of points.
Martin rebounded from his worst season in Pittsburgh to his best performance ever in nine NHL campaigns last year. Martin totaled 23 points (6G, 17A) in 34 games. Perhaps most surprisingly, the blueliner showed strong skills on the power play, where he gave the Pens the puck distributor they otherwise lacked. He scored two goals and nine points on the man advantage, setting himself up for additional power-play opportunities in 2013-14. Martin suffered what the team called a "serious" injury during the playoffs, but his ankle should be fine after a summer of rest. Whether last season was a career year or not remains to be seen. Martin finally vindicated fantasy owners who saw potential in him for years. He'll continue to skate as a top-two defender and eat up minutes (25:19 TOI) in the upcoming season.
No Penguins player was booed more vociferously than Martin last year. His lack of physical play and $5 million annual salary makes him a natural scapegoat. Despite missing nine games, Martin led the team in total time on ice. He managed only four power-play points (all assists) with a shot that probably doesn't scare too many shot blockers. The Minnesota native totaled two goals and 25 assists and again failed to live up to offensive expectations. The Penguins would like to move his salary but will likely deploy him as a top-four defender, at least until some of the organization's defensive prospects gain more experience. Martin's strength -- puck movement and eating minutes -- transfers poorly to fantasy hockey.
Martin's finest skill -- the one that helped secure him a five-year, $25 million deal with Pittsburgh -- doesn't translate well into fantasy hockey. Martin's pass-first mentality and puck moving-game gives the Pens a blueliner who helps their transition game like no other. From a fantasy perspective, the former Devils player offers modest offense. He is fresh off a season in which he totaled just three goals and 21 helpers in 77 games. Those numbers will likely see a bump up with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby back, but his career-best point total of 37 suggests he'll never become a big offensive weapon.
The Penguins are going to give Martin every chance to fulfill his promise as a potential star two-way defenseman after giving him a five-year, $25 million free agent contract. The departure of Sergei Gonchar opens the door for Martin to become a power-play quarterback for a Pittsburgh team that features offensive weapons few teams can match. Martin totaled 18 points (2, 16) on the power play in his last full season and 30 special teams points seems doable with the Pens. A broken forearm limited Martin to 22 games and 11 points in 2009-10. He averaged a little over 30 points per game the previous five seasons, however, and anything less than 40 points from Martin would be considered a disappointment.
Martin has established himself as No. 1 defenseman in the NHL as he eats up tons of ice time against the opposition's scorers. Offensively, his 32 points seems a bit more in line with what he'll do than the 37 he posted in 2005-06. However, he doesn't shoot (93 shots in 73 contests) and has just 13 goals in 235 games the past three seasons, so it's hard to expect anything more on the score sheet.
Martin has established himself as No. 1 defenseman in the NHL as he eats up tons of ice time against the opposition's scorers. Offensively, his 32 points seems a bit more in line with what he'll do than the 37 he posted in 2005-06. Martin will be on the ice plenty and should again approach the 32 point mark. However, he doesn't shoot (93 shots in 73) and has just 13 goals in 235 games the past three seasons.
Soon to be entering his second NHL season, Martin could be a breakout candidate this winter. Described as a defender in the Scott Niedermayer mold, Martin should see increased power play time and more ice time with the top scoring lines. Heíll likely skate close to 20-25 minutes per game. He is certainly a name to remember if you are in a keeper league.