The Vegas Golden Knights decided to bolster their defense group by trading two 2nd round picks to the rebuilding Los Angeles Kings in exchange for 2-time Stanley Cup Champion Alec Martinez. Martinez scored the cup-clinching goal in the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals in double-overtime of Game 5 for the Kings, which would be his 2nd Stanley Cup with the team.
Alec Martinez has a respectable career AB score with a -1.52, however, he is coming off of his fourth straight negative season, which included a career-worst -5.98 score in 2016-17. His penalty taken/drawn ratio is an impressive 5:5 considering he is averaging two minutes more per game than his previous career average of 19:24. His giveaway/takeaway ratio is below average at a 31:7, and he is -6 +/- wise on the season. What made Martinez more expensive than some of the other defensemen dealt so far this deadline season was the fact that he has an extra year of term remaining on his $4 million per year contract.
Last night against Tampa Bay, Vegas’ couldn’t have asked for a better debut from their newest acquisition, as Martinez tallied a goal and an assist for two points en rote to a 5-3 Golden Knights win. Martinez had 20 minutes of ice time, drew a penalty, and got a takeaway as well. With the win, Vegas moves into 1st place in the Pacific Division with a record of 32-22-8 for 72 points in 62 games. They have played two more games than the 2nd place Edmonton Oilers and 3rd place Vancouver Canucks, as they trail Vegas by one and two points respectively. The Knights have been playing well as of late under new coach Peter DeBoer, with a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games.
Despite losing two 2nd round picks in this trade, GM Kelly McCrimmon and the Golden Knights still have a multitude of picks at their disposal. Vegas has Pittsburgh’s 2nd in 2020, New Jersey’s 2nd in 2021, and their own 2nd in 2021. Vegas also has their own 1st round picks in the next two drafts as well.
Vegas is showing no signs of slowing down, as GM Kelly McCrimmon made it clear the Golden Knights are open for business and are willing to trade their 1st round pick in either of the next two NHL drafts to improve their team for a playoff run. It will definitely be interesting to see what McCrimmon and his staff decide to do in the next few days leading up to the trade deadline on February 24th and we will certainly be keeping an eye on them, as they should still be aggressively buying come Monday. Much more to come.