Aside from Curtis McElhinney who started from not even being on the roster, Jordan Martinook is probably the Carolina Hurricanes player who has most surprised me thus far during the 2018-19 season.
The ho-hum deal that brought Jordan Martinook to Raleigh
With Marcus Kruger having not worked out and finishing the season in the AHL, the Hurricanes had a big incentive to move him both for his benefit and team’s. Any sideways deal that unloaded Kruger and the year remaining on his contract and returned any kind of NHL player was going to be good enough. And ‘good enough’ was what I figured the team managed when it traded Kruger for Jordan Martinook. As an experienced NHLer who brought physical play, energy and penalty killing, I figured the team had landed a serviceable #12/#13 forward who was a capable spare part.
But the Hurricanes netted much more in that deal. Martinook has fit the bill as a serviceable depth forward. And with 10 goals through 50 games, he has exceeded expectations in terms of chipping in reasonable depth scoring. But the statistics miss the point with Martinook. Jordan Martinook is the type of player that you want to be part of the fabric of your team. He is the authentic version of team-first and character.
He is one of the first off the bench when the team wins in overtime.
As part of an odd couple, he has taken rookie Andrei Svechnikov under his wing.
He is capable and willing to stand up for team mates when things get chippy.
He, as much as any other player on the team, has a sense for when the team needs to dial it up, and he leads the way with physical play early in games when the team needs a spark.
And he receives high marks for just being a great team mate in all ways possible.
The Andrei Svechnikov thing
A veteran grinding depth forward from Canada. A young projected superstar from Russia. In terms of having common ground of similarities the too looking nothing close to being a match. But great people are not limited to narrow pools of people like themselves in terms of building relationships. Instead, good people have a tendency to forge relationships with all different varieties of people. Jordan Martinook is such a person. And he also gets the importance of helping team mates. When focusing on what happens on the ice, there can be a tendency to underestimate the sometimes difficult off ice transitions. Age-wise, Andrei Svechnikov is the equivalent of a kid who just graduated from high school in May. After a whirlwind summer with the draft, his fall consisted of moving to a new place and another country (his third in the past couple years), joining a new team and facing the challenge of the NHL and the high expectations that come with being drafted second overall. The role that Jordan Martinook and others play in helping Svechnikov take on a massive life change is immeasurable.
The deal itself
As I said on Twitter, I really like the deal. As detailed above, Martinook is a valuable depth player, but not to be lost in that description is ‘depth player.’ As such, it is important not to grossly overpay for the role, and I do not think the Hurricanes did. No doubt, $2 million per year that Martinook receivedis a bit of a premium above the $800,000 to $1.5 million range common for fourth line players. But the premium that Martinook received is reasonable and also well-deserved and is not overdone given his role as a depth forward.
Jordan Martinook’s role going forward
Looking forward, Martinook only needs to do exactly what he has done so far for 50 games in a Hurricanes uniform. He needs to continue to have a sense for when the the team needs a lift or a spark and continue providing it. He needs to fill a slot as a depth forward who can kill penalties. Though the scoring is not what makes him valuable, continuing to chip in goals at a reasonable pace is important in today’s NHL that requires scoring 12 forwards deep. And most importantly, he needs to continue to be a glue player plays a significant role in the locker room and with the interpersonal aspect of building a successful team.
What say you Canes fans?
1) Are you as happy as I am with the re-signing of Jordan Martinook? Or do you view him more as a good but replaceable depth forward?
2) What are your thoughts on the term and salary for the deal?
3) Of the Hurricanes pending unrestricted free agents (McElhinney, Mrazek, Williams, Ferland) are there any others that you would prefer to be signed before the trade deadline?