Season in Review: Paul Martin

Feb 29, 2012; Dallas, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Paul Martin (7) shoots the puck past Dallas Stars left wing Loui Eriksson (21) during the third period at the American Airlines Center. The Penguins defeated the Stars 4-3 in the overtime shootout. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

Key Stat: Paul Martin had a negative +/- in 26 games this season, and half of that total (13) came in his first 24 games of the season.


Interesting Note: Brooks Orpik and Paul Martin both appeared in 73 games in the 2011-12 season. Martin was on the ice for 59 goals against at 5-on-5 in 1,355:17 total played, Orpik 60 goals against (playing a little more with 1,397:25 total ES ice-time). Zbynek Michalek played in 62 games (and 1,102:02) and saw 51 goals go in against while he was on the ice.

The Good: Paul Martin had the highest Quality of Competition on the team at 5-on-5, and still had a positive ratio of Goals For (2.98) to Goals Against (2.75) for when he was on the ice. His 25 assists ranked second on the team for defensemen, he can be steady and make good passes from his defensive zone to stretch the ice and give the Pens forwards a quick transition. Martin also only took nine minor penalties all season long, quite a feat for a defenseman. His advanced stats show that he ate a lot of the tough minutes and did some needed heavy lifting for the team.

The Bad: Despite playing all those minutes, Martin barely generated any offense inside the zone: he recorded just 93 shots on goal all year long, only 2 of them hit the back of the net for a miserable 2.2 shooting percentage. Defensively Martin's subtle game isn't likely to wow many observers- he officially only recorded 24 hits in 73 games, and his 117 blocked shots was a lot less per minute played than the Pens’ other defensemen. Martin also led Penguin defensemen in giveaways (37) for the season, and publically admitted his rough beginning to the season. In his second season in Pittsburgh, you wouldn’t hope the highest-salaried veteran defenseman would get off to the rockiest start, but that's what happened as Martin stumbled in the beginning of the season and made several high-profile bad mistakes or decisions that often times saw the puck get past Marc-Andre Fleury or Brent Johnson.

Moment to Remember: December 1, 2011 at the Washington Capitals. Martin’s stat-line doesn’t jump out. 0 goals, 0 assists. He didn’t even record a shot on goal. He wasn’t even on the ice for any of the three goals scored in the game (of which the Pens won 2-1). But maybe that was the point- the Pens were without two of their top defensemen (Letang and Michalek were were injured for this one) and Martin played a game high 28:11, a full 5:25 more than any other Penguin player. Martin also helped the Pens jump up to a 35-17 shot advantage with strong Fenwick +/- and Corsi +/-. The media noted all of that too, and Martin was named the #1 star of the game.

Moment to Forget: November 6 , 2011 at the Carolina Hurricanes. With the game tied at 3-3 and only four minutes to go, Paul Martin was the last guy back in the defensive zone and waaaaay late and only watched gliding into the highlight as Eric Staal played potted the eventual game winner from right in front of the net. To make matters worse, a minute later Martin AGAIN got caught pinching in near the net and was left way out of position when the puck was turned over and Chad LaRose walked in for a breakaway to put the game away.

Discussion: A fan lightning rod, Martin rebounded with a quietly steady second half of the season, and it was Michalek, not Martin, who left town via trade this summer. What are your hopes/dreams/resignations for Martin’s 2012-13 season? What partner would you pair him with; Letang? Orpik? Matt Niskanen?

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