The New York Islanders are reportedly negotiating a new contract with free agent forward Matt Martin, according to The Athletic’s Arthur Staple.
Hearing UFA Matt Martin and the #Isles are working towards a new deal. Believe as many as seven teams inquired about Martin when free agency began last week but sounds like he wants to stay on the Island.
Martin played in 55 games with the Islanders this year, scoring three goals and eight points. Throughout his time with the Islanders, Martin has been a staple on the fourth line. That said, I'm not sure that re-signing him is the right move for the team.
We kind of assumed that Martin would leave in the offseason, based on the fact the Ross Johnston, who’s five years younger and signed for two more years, is a good option to replace him. So long as Cal Clutterbuck is around, there aren’t any spots left on the fourth line and either Martin or Johnston would be a spare, if both are on the roster.
On top of that, considering Staple reported that as many as seven teams may have checked in about Martin, it means this contract probably isn’t going to be a league-minimum kind of deal. The Islanders are still in a tight spot cap-wise and it would be a poor decision to use their space on Martin.
Martin is also 31 years old and while a decline won’t affect him as much as it would a top-six forward whose primary asset is their speed, the Islanders need to get younger. Getting Johnston, who’s 26 years old, into a permanent spot in the lineup would be a step in the right direction.
At the end of the day, if the Islanders are able to bring Martin back on a one-year deal at less than a $1 million AAV, it is what it is. We know that Lou Lamoriello likes Martin, based on his decision to give him a four-year deal with a $2.5 million AAV when he was general manager in Toronto, along with his decision to trade for him when he took over in New York. But the Islanders desperately need to avoid spending much on a 31-year-old fourth-line winger, who they already have a replacement for.
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