According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Toronto Maple Leafs have made their first signing of free agency, inking forward Matt Martin to a four-year deal worth $10MM. After losing out on the chance to sign Markham native Steven Stamkos, the Leafs went after his former Sarnia Sting linemate in Martin – the two played together in 2007-08.
Martin was apparently a hot commodity this season despite never scoring 20 points in a single season. While he doesn’t offer much in the offensive end, he does carry his own in his own end and plays with an extremely physical style. Martin has recorded over 350 hits in three straight seasons, leading the league each time.
With Toronto expected to have a number of young players in the lineup next season, including 5’11” (if that) 164 pound (soaking wet) London Knight uber-prospect Mitch Marner, Martin will be expected to keep the peace on the ice and ensure those players can use their skill and speed to play in the offensive end.
While this seems somewhat backwards in today’s NHL, Martin isn’t a lumbering enforcer and can keep up with the play even with his 6’3″ frame. While he probably won’t play much more than the 11 minutes a night he received in New York, he’ll be a welcome addition to the Maple Leafs as they continue to rebuild.