Matt Martin is in demand on trade market. Seriously. Following payment of his $1.5M signing bonus by Leafs (likely yesterday), acquiring club would owe him $750,000 this year and $1.75M next year. Cap hit is $2.5M per.— Larry Brooks (@NYP_Brooksie) July 2, 2018
As mentioned by Larry Brooks, the contract situation with Martin has made a trade now much more likely.
Martin currently has the fifth highest cap hit for Leafs forwards. That’s counting Nathan Horton, but not the currently unsigned William Nylander. He is signed for this season and next, and that cap hit is $2.5 million.
However, for teams not operating right at the cap, the cash salary picture is much rosier, and as noted above is only $750,000 this year.
Recent signings of similar sorts of players indicate that there is demand for his type of player: low event, good shot suppression and an offensive game that consists entirely of hard forechecking. Really hard forechecking.
Ryan Reaves re-signed with Vegas (who are not at all near the cap) for two years at $2.775 million. Compared to the contracts teams handed out to depth players in Vancouver and with the Islanders, Martin’s deal is a bargain.
When Martin was signed by the Leafs, Mike Babcock said they were hoping there was room for growth in his game. Well, there really wasn’t. But he brought all his good qualities to the team, is a close friend of Mitch Marner, and produced more or less what he had done in Long Island.
As the Leafs got faster, and deep enough to play a fast-skating, high-offensive pace fourth line, Martin’s usage dropped. He played in only 50 games last year, drawing in late in the season to face teams like the Sabres, but giving way in the playoffs to Andreas Johnsson and Josh Leivo.
For teams with less depth and no ability to put out a fourth line of that sort, he might be the right kind of player for right now. The rebuilding Rangers are certainly one of those teams, and he’d be an asset to them. The Islanders might think getting the band back together is a good idea too. Either way, if the Leafs do move out Martin, it looks more and more like there’s an opening to add a winger from somewhere to the Leafs roster.
Maybe we aren’t done shopping yet.