2013-14 Season In Review: Paul Martin

Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Age:
33 (March 5, 1981)

Contract Status: Signed through 2014-15; $5,000,000 cap hit - unrestricted free agent

2013-14 Stats

GP

TOI/GP

Goals

Assists

Points

39

24:34

3

12

15

Corsi For %

Corsi Rel %

Quality of Comp. (TOI%)

Zone Start %

PDO

49.2% (4)

-2.5% (5)

30.0% (1)

46.2% (7)

96.6% (9)

(Numbers in parentheses indicate descending rank among regular Pittsburgh Penguins players at his position, i.e. one of the team's top nine defensemen or top 14 forwards.)

Most frequent D partners

Partners

Goals For%

Corsi For%

Total 5v5 time (687:01 for Martin)

Brooks Orpik

50.0%

48.9%

544:31

Deryk Engelland

33.3%

34.3%

44:41

Matt Niskanen

0.0%

52.6%

41:17

Another injury riddled season for Paul Martin, but when he played, he generally did well. Playing on the "shutdown" line with Orpik, Martin got tough starts against primo competition and acquitted himself well. Logging 24 minutes a night, Martin carried the load when he was healthy and generally was the better of the two with Orpik in terms of defensive positioning, stick-on-puck, gap control and making outlet passes to get the team out of the zone.

Steady Eddie, err, Pablo

Paul Martin is one of the few low-key, effective players on a team full of high-octane stars. As has become his unfortunate habit though, it wasn't a season without pain- Martin broke his leg in late November and would miss 23 games, returning just in time to go to Sochi with Team USA.

In Sochi, it was more of the same- Martin was quietly effective and helped carry Orpik to a few games of steady play before breaking his hand in a game against the Czech Republic. After that game, USA would lose their only two games of the tournament, getting outscored 5-0 along the way. His absence wasn't the sole reason for the disappointing ending for the Americans, but it sure didn't help.

Martin's hand injury would cost him the first 18 games of the condensed schedule, where he returned just in time for the NHL playoffs. The return to lineup saw a return to form with Martin again being one of the Pens best and steadiest defensemen in the lineup.

Other than even strength, where Martin led the team in the playoffs with 19:27 per game, Martin was counted on short-handed, where he played 4:03 a game short-handed, best on the team among defensemen. He also logged 3:49 on the power play in the playoffs, most among defensemen. In every situation in every chance, the Pens counted on Paul Martin to be their number one defenseman. And if he wasn't hurt, he delivered.

GIF of the Year

Martindefense_medium


A perfect example of the subtle play that Paul Martin can make - a player racing up the wing looking for a transition strike against, he tries to use speed and chip the puck to the middle. There's Martin stick to bat it to his teammate, who now can advance the puck on a break from the Pens. Granted, there's luck that Brandon Sutter beats a good goalie with a shot he should have stopped, but the example is in the play that Martin can and repeatedly makes. The smart play. The small play. The important play.

Preseason expectations

With his paycheck, Martin needs to play a full season, log the tough minutes and hopefully come close to keeping it even, which he almost did with 30 goals for and 32 goals against at even strength while on the ice. Some spot power play time as a distributor is also needed, especially when Letang is hurt, but the main expectation is to keep it simple and keep play chugging along while on the ice with Orpik.

Verdict

Martin only appeared in 39 of the 82 games- suffering 2 different broken bones this season, one season after suffering two other significant injury. Now that he's approaching his mid-30's, can Martin stay healthy enough to stay in the lineup? Should the Pens explore signing him to another contract this summer, or would they be better off betting (and hoping) that youngsters like Olli Maatta, Scott Harrington and Brian Dumoulin can eat the tough minutes in 2015-16 that Martin has been doing well for the past couple of years.

***

Feel free to vote in the poll below to grade Paul Martin's season on a scale from 1 to 10. Vote based on your expectations for him coming into the season -- i.e. 1 being "he was incredibly disappointing and I want him out now", 10 being "he was outstanding even beyond my craziest expectations".

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