Matt Martin is an unrestricted free agent. All signs point to the fan-favorite returning to the Islanders.
Matt Martin is one of the heart and soul parts of the New York Islanders. Since coming into the league in 2010, Martin along with Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck has been called upon to set the tone for a game.
Whether it be after the opposition scores to settle the Isles down or to start a game to show the Islanders are ready for a grind. The MC2 line knows its role and executes as good as any fourth line in the sport.
This year, Martin showed offensive prowess in the playoff bubble, scoring five times, matching his goal total from the regular season. Though he’s never going to be an offensive force, it is nice to see his tough play rewarded with a couple of big goals.
The first time Martin was a free agent, he left to sign with Toronto. He was more or less replaced by Jason Chimera for the 2016-2017 season. Though Chimera scored 20 goals in his first (and only full season) with the Isles, it was clear they still missed Martin and the identy of the fourth line.
There’s no question, Martin is a key piece to the Islanders’ identity. The team has shown the past two seasons that it is a legitimate contender and one of their biggest strengths is the ability to roll all four lines.
Would another player be able to step in and perform Martin’s role? Possibly, but not nearly as well. Along with his play on the ice, Martin is also a great veteran leader and someone who is well respected in the room.
Martin has been part of the highs and lows of the Islanders since his debut in 2010. Hopefully, he can be around to see the Islanders lift the Stanley Cup.