NY Islanders Plus/Minus for 2023-24: Matt Martin hoping to have a repeat of last season

New York Islanders v Boston Bruins
New York Islanders v Boston Bruins / Brian Fluharty/GettyImages
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Heading into his 15th NHL season and 13th with the NY Islanders, Matt Martin has not just been a staple with the organization but across Long Island. The Islanders battering ram spent two seasons with the Toronto Maple Leafs after becoming a free agent in 2016 but returned home in 2018 when Lou Lamoriello traded for the Windsor native.

Now 34 years old, Martin's body has endured profound wear and tear, amassing 3,703 hits in 898 career games - second all-time only to his partner in crime, Cal Clutterbuck (3,756). Despite what his body has gone through, Martin put together one of the best statistical seasons of his career in 2022-23, tying a career-high with 19 points and finishing with double-digit assists for the first time, ending the year with 12.

Now in the final year of a four-year deal at an AAV of $1.5M, decisions will have to be made by Martin and the Islanders' front office at season's end regarding his future. But for now, Martin's eyes are set on repeating what he did last season as the Isles' aging roster pushes for another opportunity at the Stanley Cup playoffs.


Whether he's 24 or 34, there's no arguing that there are few people to play the game who can lay the lumber like Martin. From the moment he pulled on a blue and orange sweater, wearing number 46 and a visor, he's done exactly what has been required of him, no questions asked.

After one of the worst seasons of his career in 2021-22, many people were ready to write Martin off, finishing with just seven points. There were calls to have him replaced with Ross Johnston on the fourth line, as it appeared he had nothing left in the tank. Last year likely changed people's minds as he stepped up in every way on the Isles' magical run in the second half of the season.

Nashville Predators v New York Islanders
Nashville Predators v New York Islanders / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

Martin is never going to be a gamebreaker with the puck on his stick. He knows his role and plays it well, which is all the Islanders need out of him. Nothing more.

Getting more grey in the beard but still with the silky hair, Martin's body has taken a beating throughout his career, and the occasional game off may be best for him in the long run. With the emergence of Hudson Fasching last season, the Isles could occasionally rest Martin (or Clutterbuck), while sliding Fasching down to the fourth line and inserting Julien Gauthier. Martin will likely want to play in every game that he's healthy, but it could be for the overall benefit of all parties.


Martin had a career season in 2022-23, really changing the minds of his doubters, who believed he was past his prime and needed to consider hanging up his skates.

Averaging just under 13 points a season since becoming a full-time NHLer in 2010, it's tough to believe Martin will have a repeat of last season. Odds are he'll regress towards the mean, as his spot in the lineup is not totally safe. If the Isles can find someone worthy of playing on the third-line wing and Martin finds himself struggling, he could be replaced by Fasching or AHL rookie with the Bridgeport Islanders, Eetu Liukas.

Lane Lambert and Lou Lamoriello expect energy and hard-nosed hockey from Martin, which he's always been known for. If either of those categories fails to reach expectations, there's not much more Martin can bring to the table for the Islanders. He's provided both for years, but as he ages, his body is bound to wear down at some point.

With this being the final season of his contract, it would be difficult to see Martin go out while severely struggling or even as a scratch, after all he's done since first taking the ice with the Islanders 14 years ago.