Jan. 10, 2017
Matt Martin Making His Presence Known in Toronto
Last season, the Toronto Maple Leafs were one of the softest teams in the NHL. They had just 10 fights on the season, good for 28th in the league. Their leading fighter was Dion Phaneuf with 3 fights. Despite the NHL's turn away from toughness towards speed and skill, Toronto knew they had to get tougher this season.
Toronto has a ton of young, skilled players, and they needed someone to protect those players and provide energy. This offseason, they fulfilled that need by signing Matt Martin to a 4 year, $10 million dollar contract. So far this season, Matt Martin has done exactly what you would expect from a quality fourth liner.
Martin's offensive numbers have dipped this year, he only has four points, but Toronto is not even at the halfway point of their season. He will probably get to 10-12 points which is normal for him. Despite the low point totals, Martin is still a plus player, so he's not out there for goals against. Physically, Martin has been everything Toronto could have wanted and more. Through 39 games, Martin has 146 hits, good for second in the NHL. He also has 9 fights, which is almost as many as the entire Maple Leafs team last year. This guy has delivered in Toronto.
If Martin continues at the pace he at right now, he is going to finish the season with about 10 points, 300 hits, 18 fights, and 160 penalty minutes. This is great stuff for a fourth liner in the modern NHL. Led by Martin, the Maple Leafs as a team are much tougher this year. They already have 17 fights on the year and are on pace for over 30, which is three times as many as last year. They also have a good chance to make the playoffs if they keep playing at the level they are right now. Overall, this season has been very good for the Maple Leafs so far. Matt Martin has also been very good for the Maple Leafs so far. He has certainly been the physical presence Toronto wanted when they signed him.