The San Jose Sharks have brought veteran defenseman Paul Martin back to the NHL, recalling him along with Rudolfs Balcers today. In a corresponding move, the team has moved Joel Ward and Tomas Hertl to injured reserve.
Martin, 36, was waived earlier this season after battling injury and assigned to the minor leagues for the first time in his career. Since jumping right from the NCAA to the NHL in 2003, Martin had played 859 NHL games split between three clubs. A stay-at-home defenseman capable of a good first pass, Martin had been a key member of the Sharks blue line and a perfect complement to Brent Burns’ roving style.
No one took a chance on Martin when he was on waivers, mostly because of his hefty $4.85MM cap hit this year and next. He took the demotion in stride and tried to prove his worth at the AHL level, and has now been given another chance in the NHL. He’ll still be eligible to be sent back down without clearing waivers for some time, and another team could reach out to try and acquire him if he shows well. It’s not clear where exactly he fits into the Sharks lineup right now, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction for the veteran defenseman.