It’s offseason cleanup time for many NHL players, with nagging injuries finally being dealt with on the surgical table. That’s the case for Carolina Hurricanes forward Jordan Martinook, who has undergone a meniscal debridement on his right knee. Martinook is expected to make a full recovery in time for the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
Of course, the 28-year-old forward doesn’t actually have a contract yet for next season as his two-year, $4MM deal with Carolina expires at the end of 2020-21. He is an extension candidate because of the strong leadership role he has in the Hurricanes dressing room and the physical presence he brings to the ice, but the surgery at least complicates things a bit. For the second season in a row, Martinook recorded only 13 points and now has just six goals over his last 102 regular season games dating back to the end of 2018-19. Sure, the role he fills in bringing along and supporting the young players on the Hurricanes roster is important, but those troubling offensive numbers won’t help his case when negotiating a new deal.
It’s not like the playoffs have brought out the best in him offensively, as through 29 games over the last three seasons Martinook has scored just twice. Eventually, there will have to be a decision made on whether he’s bringing enough to the table on a nightly basis to help the Hurricanes get closer to the Stanley Cup or whether he is dragging them down.
Especially as he deals with his recovery from knee surgery and the team tries to navigate other contract negotiations, an extension can probably be put on the back burner. That said, there is a benefit from signing him in the next few weeks, as he could fill one of the required exposure slots in the upcoming expansion draft.