The Los Angeles Kings will have one of their normal defenders back on the ice tonight after a month absence, one that very well could be moved before the February trade deadline. Alec Martinez has been activated from injured reserve and will play in his first game since December 8th while his name is continually bandied about in trade speculation.
Martinez, 31, has 11 points in 30 games this season has proved over the years to be one of the most reliable defenders in Los Angeles. That reliability is extremely attractive when paired with a reasonable $4MM cap hit for the next two seasons, and should draw plenty of interest over the next six weeks. Craig Custance of The Athletic (subscription required) recently listed Martinez on his trade bait board, reporting that the expected asking price for Martinez is a second-round pick and a good prospect. The Kings are heading into a quick retool mode and need to get some youth and speed into the lineup, including opening up some minutes on the back end.
Eating up those tough minutes is what Martinez is known for, once again being a part of the Kings penalty killing group and starting a good amount of his shifts in the defensive end. To get any sort of return at the deadline though, Martinez will need to prove he’s healthy enough to contribute down the stretch and get back to logging 20+ minutes a game, a threshold he had failed to crack for the four games before being taken out of the lineup due to injury. Any team willing to part with a good prospect and high draft pick will be expecting top-four contributions, something he’ll have to prove he can still provide.