Highway Robbery! Martinez locked up for 2 years/$1.4 million


Photo taken by Jeff Johnson of The Gazette

The Kings announced today that they re-signed restricted free agent defenseman Alec Martinez to a two year, $1.4 million deal, with a cap hit of $737,500. Martinez, who will be 24 later this month, had modest totals of 5 goals and 11 assists in 60 games last season – which is probably why the Kings were able to lock him up for such a criminally low salary. As we shall see, the point totals above don’t even begin to tell the contributions that A-Mart brought to the Kings last year.

Most advanced metrics love Martinez. He ranked second amongst Kings defensemen on the Kings in GVT/g (no points for guessing who was first) at .095, showing a well-rounded game and making a positive impact on both ends of the ice. His relative Corsi (which measures the difference between a player’s performance when he’s on the ice and the team’s performance when he’s off it) was 9.8 – the highest amongst Kings defensemen who played at least 20 games. He managed to do all this while playing with less than optimal lineups surrounding him, as his QualTeam score of -.128 shows. Furthermore, he was 2nd amongst Kings defensemen in points per 60/min on the power play (behind Jack Johnson), and 1st by a wide margin in 5-on-4 goals per 60/min. He led Kings defensemen in Ozone% at 52.8%, meaning that Terry Murray put Martinez on the ice during offensive zone faceoffs more than any other King defender. His shooting percentage of 6.8% was not abnormally high or low, and he did all of this in only 13 minutes of ice time a night, so his stellar season should be repeatable, at the very least.

Perhaps the only area for skepticism about Martinez’s game is that he played primarily against lesser competition. His QualComp was -.063, meaning he primarily went up against below average competition. However, this statistic is completely out of his control, as it is dependent on coaching decisions made by both the Kings and their opponents. Everything above tells us that Martinez would do quite well if moved into duty as a top-4 defenseman. The Kings just so happen to have the luxury of playing him on their 3rd pairing because of the strength of their defensive core.

Lastly, of course, is what I see with my own eyes on the ice. Martinez particularly impressed me with his decision making and his anticipation of the developing play, both of which were extraordinary considering his age and limited experience. He’s got a sharp and accurate shot from just below the blue line, and maintains excellent balance between joining the rush and keeping up with his responsibilities on his own end. His biggest weakness is that he has little creativity with the puck and has little to no ability to create for his teammates. Most of his assists, from my recollection, seemed to come as a result of teammates’ rebound goals. Still, if that’s my primary complaint about a 23 year old rookie defenseman, Martinez is doing quite well for himself.

All this is to say that the Kings signed Martinez today for an unbelievable steal of a price. By my estimation, when taking into account both his age and his contributions on the ice, Martinez should be making about 3 times what he was signed for. I know that restricted free agents who finish up their entry level contracts don’t often get fair value on their next contracts, but that doesn’t change the fact that the Kings got very good value on this contract.

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Comments
3 Responses to “Highway Robbery! Martinez locked up for 2 years/$1.4 million”
  1. Davy says:

    I didn’t realize how important Martinez is to the Kings. Nice article.

    • Thanks Davy. I don’t think most Kings fans realize how good Martinez already is. It’s exciting to think about his potential when we remind ourselves that he is still only 23.

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