In the mix of trade deadline chaos, the Vegas Golden Knights have acquired Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez as league bottom-feeders move expiring deals or mid-level valued players for prospects or draft capital.
There has been a run on defenseman of late with Dylan DeMelo going from the Ottawa Senators to the Winnipeg Jets for a third-round pick. Shortly after, the San Jose Sharks sent the very reliable Brenden Dillon to Washington Capitals for a second and third-round pick. Most recently, Montreal sent Marco Scandella to St.Louis for a second and fourth-round choice. It seems the run on defenders has prompted the Vegas Golden Knights to add Alec Martinez, in a deal made official on Wednesday.
Martinez is an intriguing trade piece. He’s spent his entire 11-year NHL career with the Los Angeles Kings. The soon to be 33-year-old is not just a pure rental, he’s a veteran defender with term remaining on his deal. Martinez is under contract one more season, carrying a very affordable cap hit of $4 million, according to Cap Friendly.
The Golden Knights needed to upgrade their blueline, and Martinez is the perfect player to do so. He’s regularly logged north of 21 minutes per night; in fact, over his last six seasons combined, he’s averaged 21 and a half minutes per game.
Adding Martinez will help take some pressure off of the Golden Knights’ top two defenders Nate Schmidt and Shea Theodore. Martinez will immediately be inserted as a top-four defender with Vegas. Although his offensive output isn’t what it once was, Martinez is capable of operating the point on the second power-play unit.
Being a left-handed shot, Martinez won’t fill the need of a right-handed defender, but he will lengthen the Golden Knights lineup. The addition will likely bump Jon Merrill from the lineup, moving Nick Holden down alongside the team’s only right-handed shot Deryk Engelland.
As per Bob McKenzie of TSN, the return is pair of second-round picks, one from 2020 and the other from the 2021 NHL Draft. Coming into this deal, the Golden Knights had two second-round choices for this season and a whopping three-second rounders for next year.
It’s a bit of a steep price for a 33-year-old defender that’s clearly on the back nine of his career, but the two-time Stanley Cup winner provides leadership and stability to any lineup. Vegas will be willing to move multiple picks due to the fact Martinez isn’t a pure rental; he will be a part of their plans next season.
Vegas is in the midst of a playoff race, as the top-end of the Pacific Division has five teams currently separated by a mere two points. With just a snap of their fingers, Vegas can go from being in the division lead to the fourth team in a wild card race that only sees two make the playoffs.
Through 41 games this season, Martinez has recorded one goal and seven assists totaling eight points. His Corsi For Percentage is a respectable 51.3 percent, especially considering he played for an inadequate Los Angeles team for most of the season.
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