Today, Canes and Coffee’s “Midterms” series continues its check ins on the Carolina Hurricanes prospects below the AHL level. Following Jack LaFontaine at the University of Michigan, David Cotton at Boston College, Luke Stevens at Yale University and Matt Filipe at Northeastern University, today’s edition stays in the college ranks and provides an update on 2017 draftee and University of Michigan defenseman Luke Martin.
Luke Martin was one of two Carolina Hurricanes’ draftees in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Martin is a big defenseman whose foundation is solid defensive play and physical play. He has been a regular on Team USA in international tournaments and played the 2016-17 season at the University of Michigan where he is a sophomore for the 2017-18 season.
Interview with Ben Katz from The Michigan Daily
About the interviewee
Ben Katz (Twitter handle=@benkatz27) is a hockey beat writer for The Michigan Daily, the independent student newspaper of the University of Michigan. He writes multiple times per week about every aspect of Michigan hockey, from game stories to sidebars to features. A link to his many articles from the 2017-18 season, which have been read by hundreds of readers weekly, can be found at his author profile at The Michigan Daily.
Interview on Luke Martin
Canes and Coffee: Now in his sophomore season, what has been Luke Martin’s for Michigan thus far during the 2017-18 season?
Ben Katz: Despite changing defensive pairings to find the right chemistry on the blue line, Martin has adapted well to playing with anyone from junior Joseph Cecconi to freshman Quinn Hughes, and has been integral in many parts of the team’s game. Though not one to have statistics that jump off the score sheets, Martin has done the smaller things especially on special teams, constantly being rotated through both the power play and penalty kill units. Known for his lock-down defense, Martin has moved into a major part of the Wolverines’ rotation and looks to keep that job from here on out.
Canes and Coffee: Can you please provide a short summary of Luke Martin’s 2017-18 season so far?
Ben Katz: This season, Martin has been a bright spot on a roster that has been consistently inconsistent on the defensive front. His plus-13 rating leads the team — the next closest is defenseman Nicholas Boka with plus-eight — and is a major improvement from his plus-two rating last season. This jump can probably be attributed to the sophomore rarely making the costly turnovers in the defensive zone that have plagued the Wolverines all season long. Martin also has a team-high 44 blocked shots, many of which have squashed quality chances against the likes of Minnesota and Penn State — leading to Michigan’s recent sweeps over two of the country’s best.
Canes and Coffee: Moving from his freshman to sophomore season, in what areas do you notice the most progress in Luke Martin’s development from last season to this one?
Ben Katz: Again, Martin’s team-high plus-13 rating shows a major improvement from his plus-two rating last season. He has continued to get more relaxed inside the defensive zone, making smart choices and being highly efficient with the puck. With more games under his belt on the collegiate level, Martin has become a mainstay on defense, someone the coaches can count on in many situations, like the power play and penalty kill.
Canes and Coffee: As Luke Martin works to develop into an NHL player, what areas of his game still have room for improvement? What are his strengths at this stage of his development?
Ben Katz: As I previously mentioned, Martin’s defensive awareness, calmness inside the defensive zone and hardworking attitude have all made Martin a reliable blue-liner for Michigan. Though Martin primarily has a defense-first approach during games, I still believe there is more potential for the sophomore on the offensive attack moving forward — and we have seen spurts of it already. Just two weekends ago against Penn State, Martin had a textbook stretch pass from blue line to blue line to freshman forward Dakota Raabe, who then scored the eventual game-winner to complete the weekend sweep. If he can continue to make those plays more regularly and upgrade that part of his arsenal — building on his one goal and four assists this season — he can become a very dangerous, two-way defenseman.
Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Ben Katz from The Michigan Daily for generously sharing his ‘from the rink’ insight on Carolina Hurricanes prospect Luke Martin.