Coyotes’ Martinook Having Breakout Sophomore Season

When Jordan Martinook made the Arizona Coyotes’ opening night roster out of training camp last season, many expected that he’d become another bottom-six grinder on a team that, at the time, had very few difference-making forwards on the roster. However, Martinook had other ideas; he immediately won over the fans with his hard-working, two-way style of play, and quickly earned the trust of head coach Dave Tippett as well.

Playing out on the wing, Martinook became a mainstay on Arizona’s penalty kill, and even chipped in offensively, as he had nine goals and 15 assists in 81 games. At the end of the season, Martinook was recognized on Fan Appreciation Night, as he was selected by the fans as the team’s Hardest Working Player.

Now, in his second season with the Coyotes, and having moved from the wing to center, Martinook has emerged as one of Arizona’s better all-around forwards. The road to success for Martinook has been a long one, but it’s ultimately paid off for the 24-year-old.

It’s a Long Way to the Top

Martinook began his junior hockey career with the WHL’s Vancouver Giants in 2010. He had to earn his way onto the roster, as he attended the team’s training camp on a tryout basis, but did indeed make the team, and went on to record 11 goals and 17 assists while playing in all 72 games. However, Martinook wouldn’t truly appear on the NHL’s radar until the 2011-12 season, when he scored 40 times and nearly quadrupled his goal total from the previous season. He also recorded 24 assists and played extremely well in the postseason, as he chipped in three goals and six assists in Vancouver’s first-round loss to the Spokane Chiefs.

As a result of his solid year in the WHL, Martinook was selected by the then-Phoenix Coyotes with the #58 overall pick in the 2012 draft. Martinook spent the next three seasons in the AHL with the Portland Pirates, where he learned the professional game and markedly improved his play in every season. Martinook got his first taste of the NHL during the 2014-15 season and recorded zero penalties and an assist in eight games over two separate stints with the Coyotes.

Martinook then entered Arizona’s training camp in 2015 looking to earn a full-time NHL job, but received relatively little fanfare, as many were instead focused on the dynamic rookie duo of Max Domi and Anthony Duclair. However, the experienced Martinook stood out during camp; the three-year AHL veteran was one of the team’s best forwards during practices and drills, and played well during preseason action as well.

As a result, Martinook beat out highly touted first-round picks Dylan Strome, Henrik Samuelsson, and Brendan Perlini for one of the team’s final roster spots, and wasted no time in making a name for himself when the season started. He scored his first career NHL goal in the second game of the year, and began to earn more ice time as the season progressed as a result of his outstanding play. Martinook eventually found himself on a line with Brad Richardson and Shane Doan, and the trio became one of the team’s most consistent and effective forward lines.

Taking the Next Step

As good as he was last season, Martinook has been even better so far in 2016; he’s racked up five goals, five assists, and a plus-three rating in 17 games, and has also continued to be one of the team’s better penalty killers. He’s currently on pace to score 25 goals, and is having success despite playing a new position; Martinook moved from the wing to center this season due to the departures of veteran pivots Boyd Gordon and Antoine Vermette, but has proven that he’s ready to handle the extra responsibility that comes with being a centerman in the NHL.

Overall, Martinook is the prototypical Dave Tippett player; he’s a scrappy, hard-working, defensively-sound forward who is solid in all three zones of the ice. Tippett has displayed high levels of confidence in Martinook, and the 24-year-old has excelled at everything that’s been asked of him by the coaching staff. If he’s able to continue developing his game, he’s going to be around in Arizona for a long, long time.