Player evaluation: Martinez
This season: 60 games, 5 goals, 11 assists, 18 penalty minutes, 15:17 average ice time.
The good: It was a bit of a surprise, in late November, when the Kings assigned Jake Muzzin to the AHL and called up Alec Martinez, who hadn’t made a lot of noise in training camp and was off to a solid but unspectacular start in the AHL. Well, the Kings knew best. Martinez stepped into the lineup and looked comfortable from day one. His skating, good shot and all-around good hockey sense made him a good fit with Matt Greene and made him a valued contributor on the power play.
The bad: To be expected from a 23-year-old rookie defenseman, Martinez had his share of uh-oh moments and a couple substandard games, but he bounced back from those nicely. Like all young defensemen with puck-moving ability, Martinez has to be wise in terms of deciding when to jump into plays and take chances.
Going forward: This time last year, Martinez ran the risk of getting lost in the shuffle, given the high number of defensive prospects in the Kings’ system. Martinez needed to open some eyes in the organization this season, and he did. Is it enough to hold off prospects such as Muzzin and Viatcheslav Voynov next season? The training-camp battle should be intriguing, but Martinez gave himself a big leg up with his strong performance this season.