I am going to do both Martinek and Niederreiter in the same post, as Nino played only 9 games this season. Also, the summer is swiftly passing, and there are still a number of guys to review.
For Radek Martinek, this was a relatively “healthy” season for him, as he played in 64 total games this year. Ironically, this was the most games played in by any Islander defenseman. Considering the Isles lost some 601 total man games to injuries, well, it’s not actually a surprising stat upon face value, yet based on Radek’s misfortunes with injuries, the fact that he suited up for the most games on the back line is a bit startling.
When he has been healthy, Martinek has always been one of the most sound and reliable guys on the blue line. He’s not “flashy” or overly physical, yet he has always managed to get the job done. Frankly, to me, the Islanders have always been a better defensive team when Radek has played. It’s just been frustrating and disappointing that we had lost him for significant periods of time because of various injuries.
In his 64 games, Martinek totaled 3 goals and 13 assists. He was also a minus 5 overall, which was not a “terrible” stat for a team that had such a horrible start and finished so many games under the .500 mark. Martinek is just one of those guys who positionally is always in the right place at the right time, and manages to make the “smart” play without fanfare or a great deal of praise. From what I have read, he never complains and is one of those kinds of guys who coaches love to have around. Additionally, I have no doubts that he was a very good influence on the younger defensive core, especially with the numerous injuries the back line suffered throughout the season.
As for a rating or “grade”, I’d give Radek Martinek a B Plus. I think he got the job done every night, and did so many of the “little” things that make him a solid defenseman in the NHL. He has always been an asset to the Islanders, and it was, to me, a shame that he was not going to fit into the long term plans of the team when the season concluded.
The soon to be 35 year old is now a member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and having been a fan of his, I personally wish him all the best. He will undoubtedly serve his new team well and give them the same, solid, consistent play as he has given the Islanders over the years. Your time here was appreciated, Marty, and I’m sure you still have more than a few years left in the tank. The very best of injury-free hockey for you, my friend.
As for Nino Niederreiter, what we saw in the 9 games he played was another piece to the future core of the Islanders. His selection as the 5th pick in the 2010 draft was one I very much praised, and it was no surprise to me that the Isles chose to give him a look at the professional level. He pick up a goal and an assist, but it was best for his development to allow him to play in Portland at the junior level and get that experience under his belt.
I really cannot “grade” nino. He certainly played well, but 9 games is not enough to make any sort of “evaluation” of his overall play. I believe Niederreiter has a fantastic shot at making the “big club” this season, and I also believe that he will make this already exciting season ahead of us even better for the Islanders. A full season of his skill and talent is something I very much am looking forward to witnessing for sure.
I remember his goal being scored against the Caps and, I believe, Doug Weight helping to set it up. I know that will be the first of many for Mr. Niederreiter. The only “question” I have that will, of course, be answered in September, is on which line will Nino play?
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