One player that all Islanders fans are familiar with is Matt Martin. Martin is a fan favorite because of his team-first mentality. And for his ability to throw his body at everyone and everything. And of course, Martin was never afraid to drop the gloves to protect a teammate or to spark the bench. For the second time in his career, Matt Martin has hit the open market and is an unrestricted free agent. Last time around, it was the 2016 offseason and Matt Martin signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just two short years later, Martin would find himself back on the island after being traded for in July of 2018. Now in the magical year of 2020, will the Islanders bring back the fan-favorite grinder?
Like for all players, there are pros and cons. And Matt Martin is no different. One of the major reasons I believe the Islanders should bring back Martin is his two linemates, Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck. Cizikas, Martin, and Clutterbuck, known better as the MC^2 Line, are one of, if not the best fourth line in all of hockey. the MC^2 like has proved crucial to the Islander’s success over the last two seasons. The gritty energy they play with is not commonly seen in today’s flashy style of hockey. And for a team that relies heavily on everyone playing their part, having a strong fourth line is crucial and required.
The only reason the Islanders shouldn’t resign Matt Martin is due to their current cap space situation. The Islanders have already traded stud young defenseman, Devon Toews, to the Colorado Avalanche. Due to the fact they will not be able to pay him. The Islanders still need to pay defenseman Ryan Pulock and star centerman Mat Barzal to big contracts and they don’t even have the cap allocated to do that. So until the Islanders resign Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock to big contracts, players like Matt Martin shouldn’t be signed any time soon.
Obviously many Islanders fans want to see Matt Martin back in blue and orange for the start of the 2021 NHL season. However, with the Islanders already in a very tough cap situation and yet to clear any large amount of salary, Matt Martin should be the least of the Islander’s concerns. But if he is available when the Islanders can afford to pay him after they pay their stars, they should absolutely bring him back.