mikey287 wrote:He was much better in New Jersey...I don't want to use such silly evidence, but on a poll from a (non-existant) other board that ranked the top-50 d-men league wide in July/August 2008, Paul Martin came in at 30th. Behind Braydon Coburn and ahead of Brent Seabrook. Obviously means nothing now (and maybe then) but it shows that he was well-regarded to whatever degree. This past offseason, he didn't receive any real votes for top-50 and likely would have been in the 75-100 area. I don't mean to use it as a hard-and-fast ranking, but it's a fair illustration of how he was regarded before he got here. By true numbers, he was considered a fringe #1 d-man; now maybe an average second pairing player. Hard to believe that Martin, himself, would fall off like that by himself from the age of 27 to 30 or whatever he is now...environment plays a role.
What I understand from reading comments from some Devils fans on HF and talking to a few friends of mine who happen to be Devils fans, I gather that it is not so much that he was better in NJ, but that the system he played in protected him better. Now that he came to Pittsburgh, he has not lived up to the bigger role he was asked to play. What are we supposed do, dumb down our system because he can't handle it? He did play really well at times last year, and I did stick up for him at one point, but he didn't do much for me in the playoffs. I know he said he had a shoulder problem or something. Maybe a valid excuse. But another thing I learned is that he also crumbled against the Flyers' physical game in a playoff series when he was on the Devils. I know hindsight is 20/20, but Shero should have known better. He had to know Martin's shot is so weak that a 5 year old girl could run up and grab it. How do you give him $5 million if you can't even put him on the PP? Nevermind the obvious lack of physical play. I think Shero rushed to sign a big name D without thinking how he would fit. Maybe opinion of Martin was better around the league, and I know it was, but you also have to look at a player's attributes and they're not there. I just hope he finds a home for him somewhere. It's not the end of the world and could be a good trade chip.