Matt Martin has returned to the New York Islanders. After going to the Toronto Maple Leafs in free agency two years ago he’s back. And it’s not as fun as I hoped it would be.
I, like you, am happy that Matt Martin has returned to the New York Islanders. After a career year Martin was allowed to walk in free agency after Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas earned big money deals.
And now he’s back. Matt Martin was re-acquired by the New York Islanders in a deal that sent goalie Eamon McAdams to the Leafs for the tough fourth liner.
I thought if this ever happened I’d be happier for the Islanders. But ‘m not. Because this is now the fourth fourth-line player that this new management has brought in and I’m confused. I’m still faithful, but I’m certainly confused.
What’s Going On?
Going into the offseason the New York Islanders had two major gaps in the lineup to fill. They needed a starting goalie and a top-four defenseman. And now with Tavares leaving they need a second line center.
And so far the Islanders have acquired: Leo Komarov, Valtteri Filppula, Tomas Kuhnhackl, and now Matt Martin.
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Neither of these men are defensemen, nor are they goalies, nor are they second line centers. They don’t address a single one of the Islanders needs going into 2018-19. The confusion should be obvious. What exactly is the plan here?
I’m all for bringing back Matt Martin, the partnership he had with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck when he was here was outstanding. But to be fair, the Islanders already had a Matt Martin type of player in Ross Johnston. Why exactly bring in Martin?
It seems that Lou Lamoriello is hoarding fourth line players which could mean two things. (1) Either he’s loading up on players that can be traded as pieces to acquire bigger fish. Or (2) he’s going to bring back a tough physical style of play that doesn’t necessarily translate in today’s NHL.
I’m hoping it’s the former over the latter.
Think of The Children
With all these fourth liners it’s hard to see where some of the youth the Islanders have in the system are going to fit in. Young prospects who might have sat on a third line in 2018-19 will be forced out by sheer numbers.
The Islanders bottom six players are shaping up to look like:
Considering Kieffer Bellows and maybe even Josh Ho-Sang would have been looking to make the roster in 2018-19. The Isles went from a potentially dynamic and scoring third line to this sort of shut down grinding fourth line.
It’s not a great look when the wins above replacement for every single player that the New York Islanders have brought in is negative. As in they cost wins, they don’t bring in wins. So even if the New York Islanders hadn’t lost John Tavares, these acquisitions would look bad.
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Obviously, with the loss of John Tavares in free agency it makes these acquisitions even worse. I still have faith. But I don’t understand what’s going on. The Islanders didn’t need these players. I’m happy to have Matt Martin back, but maybe just bring him in and forget about Komarov and Filppula?