Tuesday, June 14, 2011

2010-11 Season Review: Alec Martinez

Alec MartinezAlec Martinez 
2010-11 Stats: 60 GP, 5 G, 11 A, 16 PTS, +11, 5 PPP, 18 PIM  
RFA this summer

While Dean Lombardi may have blown the 2007 NHL Draft by selecting Thomas Hickey #4 overall; he grabbed another puck-moving defenseman in the 4th round that has already had an impact in the NHL.  Alec Martinez started the 2009-10 season with the Kings but looked so uncomfortable in his first four NHL games that the Kings were forced to send him down.  The pace and speed of the game seemed to overwhelm the 22-year old defenseman.

Fast forward a year later, Alec Martinez got the call in late-November and didn't look back.  He quickly became the third puck-moving defenseman on the Kings blueline and became a reliable contributor on the Kings second power-play unit.  Martinez's knack for getting shots thru to the net is what made him so valuable this season.  He attempted 112 shots on net with 74 of them reaching target.  Of the Kings six regular blueliners; Martinez's 66% was the highest.  His five power play points in 60 games was the third highest total behind Doughty and Johnson (whether that's an accomplishment or warning...i'll let you decide).

When you see Martinez skate with his somewhat upright stride and head always up; you can see a bit of Scott Niedermayer/Brian Rafalski.  You can tell that three years at Miami University (Ohio) and two years in the AHL have helped develop his game.  His decision making in the defensive zone and knowledge of when to make the simple play is already light years ahead of Jack Johnson.  With that said, Martinez's ceiling isn't nearly as high but his consistency is already there.

FINAL GRADE: B+; For the pessimist in all of us: Martinez serves as a reminder that Hickey has been a bust and the Kings don't trust Voynov who's already a two-time AHL All-Star.  Considering no one really expected to see Martinez up again after his disaster of a debut in 2009; Alec was a nice surprise this year.  Although his play tapered off towards the end of the season and the pace of the playoffs seemed to be a bit too quick for him.  Martinez's 2010 season has sent a message to prospects like Hickey, Voynov, and Muzzin that it's his spot to take going into training camp next season.  Resigning him is an absolute no-brainer.  An extension similar to what Drewiske received would be ideal.  My guess: 3-years, around $2.5 million total.

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