Stoosh wrote:Thoughts on Martin, dudes...
I get the sense that he's got the same relative problems here that Ryan Whitney tended to have. After Bylsma came on board in 2009, the tempo at which the Pens forced the issue via the transition game increased noticeably. The demands on the d-men to move the puck out of the zone quickly increased, and no defenseman on that 2008-09 team struggled to adjust more than Whitney. He turned the puck over more. He seemed to struggle making proper reads out of the zone. He looked like a player for whom the game was moving too fast, and he was getting caught thinking too much. I don't think it was entirely coincidental that he was dealt just a few weeks after Bylsma took over.
I saw some of the same from Martin over much of the last year. Poor puck management paired with some mind-numbingly awful reads on passes out of the zone, all of which were made more frustrating because this was a player whose calling cards were puck management and making solid passes out of the zone. That's primarily why Martin was brought here. He looked like a guy who was thinking too much and trying to hurry the play at the same time. Maybe the transition game in this system just moved too quickly for him. Maybe he's more suited running a more controlled, more patient breakout like he ran in New Jersey - something that allows him more time to read the entire ice before making a pass (tangent: this is why I think this notion that he has no trade value is false).
And in fairness, maybe some of his struggles ARE on the coaching as well. Maybe it's also incumbent on the coaches to recognize this, adapt the system a little to help the player (dial back the rush or don't expect him to pinch into the offensive zone so much, perhaps) instead of possibly just continuing to try to fit a square peg into a round hole.
I think the frustration with Martin is also compounded by the fact that even when he's on his game, he's not a spectacular player. Every defenseman makes mistakes, but Martin's aren't offset by anything else. He's not much of a threat to score goals unless he's pinching to the high slot. He doesn't offer much on the powerplay. He's not a strong presence in the defensive zone; his positional play sometimes leaves much to be desired, and he's doesn't offer much resistance to opposing puck carriers, not even with a stick check.
When he's on, he's in decent position and he distributes the puck well, and that's about it. I think the motive behind his acquisition was the hope to replace at least the "puck distribution/jumpstart the transition" role of Gonch's game, and that Michalek would pick up some of the defensive slack, but it hasn't materialized quite that way.
It'll be interesting to see what happens moving forward through the summer, especially within the confines of a new CBA.
Thats a very good point. And I go back to my thinking that the Pens in this system are actually better off with stay at home d-men and grinding type wingers who do what they do and allow the stars to do what they do. Its no coincidence that all of our problems started and kept getting worse when we starting bringing in these certain types of players and benching guys like Fedetenko and Talbot (who are not great by any means but went out to continue to be at the very least productive players like they were in previous years here).
I think we as fans can be fooled by some of forwards regular season point totals. We have so much talent up front we are going to have guys get some goals and points, but in the end something is wrong with the personnel we think we need combined with how we play.
I would almost guarantee that Martin and Mikalek would go on to be solid productive players somewhere else.