Well, it’s been a while. I haven’t really been around these past however many days it’s been. On Friday, I left for Tampa, and I’ve been in vacation mode since. I’m back, though, and I’m looking forward to getting back in touch will all of you at HockeyIndependent.
It doesn’t seem like there has been much change on the NHL side of things in the past week. The dark cloud of September 15th looms overhead, and although I think we will have a 2012-13 season, it’s reasonable to be a little anxious at this point. I mean, this lockout business is really screwing up everything. Fans are left in the dark from all of this, and it’s making it really hard to get excited for anything related to hockey (yes, even NHL 13).
Training camp should be starting on September 21st, but updates and excitement are lacking because of the big “maybe” attached to it. It’s always fun to get an early look at your team and the unknown players that emerge (think Matt Moulson during the 2009-10 season), but this year, fans might not be able to get that opportunity.
Speaking of training camp, the Islanders in-house rule is that any player looking to be on the roster for the upcoming season must be signed by the date when training camp begins; otherwise, the player will have to sit out the entire season. Islanders fans might be familiar with this rule because of an incident two years ago when Josh Bailey was about to sit out, but then signed a two-year deal. For those who think the Islanders are bluffing, former first-round pick Sean Bergenheim did sit out an entire season because he did not sign with the team by the start of training camp. Charles Wang means business, and will not allow a contract dispute to interfere with his team.
With that being said, Matt Martin is still not under contract with the New York Islanders. Martin, a restricted free agent, has not come to terms with the organization. Although I highly doubt the Islanders and Martin will not come to an agreement by the time training camp starts (if training camp starts), the clock is ticking. What will it take for our fan-favorite to re-up with the team within the next 9 days?
Let’s make this clear: Martin had an outstanding season for the New York Islanders. Matty Marts is coming off a record-breaking season where he dished out 374 hits, which was 81 more than Dustin Brown during the 2011-12 season. The previous record of 356 (held by Cal Clutterbuck) was shattered by Martin, who was really the only true physical presence on this past Islanders team. He played his role perfectly.
Our only physical presence finds other ways to contribute to this team along with the massive hits, though. Martin is not a one-trick pony. In his second full-season, Martin tied his career-high in points (14), but improved his goals total from 5 to 7. Yes, I know it’s not much, but Martin did this bouncing around between the 3rd and 4th lines, which were not productive by any means during the 2011-12 season.
Martin also showed improvement around the net, increasing his shots total from 60 to 130, which shows that he was at least getting pucks to the net. To put this number in retrospect, his 130 shots were good for 8th on the team and higher than Josh Bailey. An argument could be made that this says more about Bailey than it does Martin, but there is no denying that it certainly looks good on Martin.
He had a presence around the net throughout the season, and he even showed, at times, his ability to drive the puck (and his body) to the net. I saw him cut in front of opposing goalies several times this past season. It’s not hard to believe that Martin could become a more productive offensive player as time goes on, much like Cal Clutterbuck, who is a good comparison to our fan-favorite.
Let’s look at him for a second. Before last season, Clutterbuck was the three-time reigning hits champion and hits record holder. Really, every season Clutterbuck was in the league (he played his first full season in 2008-09), Clutterbuck led the league in this category. Through his first two seasons, Clutterbuck scored 24 goals and 15 assists for 39 points. In comparison, Martin scored 12 goals and 16 assists for 28 points.
Cal was rewarded with a 3-year, $4.2 million contract before he became an RFA, just like Martin.
During Cal’s 3rd and 4th seasons, Clutterbuck scored 19 goals and 15 goals, respectively. He scored 61 points over this span, while still being among the NHL’s top-3 hitters. Minnesota got a solid bang-for-it’s-buck…no pun intended.
Martin dethroned Clutterbuck as the NHL hits leader during Cal’s 4th-season, and only his second. Just like Clutterbuck, Martin was slated to be an RFA after year two in the NHL, but unlike Clutterbuck, Martin is still without a contract.
I think Clutterbuck’s contract almost nails it, but here’s what I think should happen: The Islanders should add an extra year because it’s not so often the Islanders find a player like him. Four years, $7 million on the contract to show Martin that he’s better than his counterpart and to keep the core of this team together.
All I know is the clock is ticking on this one, and you better believe the Islanders would force him to sit out (no matter how ridiculous). So, what do all of you think? What should it take to keep him, and be fair to both sides?
Thanks for reading! Feel free to comment below!
Filed Under: New York Islanders
About the Author: Writes at Islanders Op-Timism. Islanders Season Ticket Holder who tends to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Hofstra Graduate currently working at Portnoy, Messinger, Pearl & Associates. I definitely want to end up working within the world of hockey. Blog: www.IslandersOptimism.com E-Mail: ChristopherTriantafilis@gmail.com Twitter: @ChrisTriants