2016-17 Team: University of Michigan (NCAA)
Date of Birth: September 20, 1998
Place of Birth: St. Louis, Missouri
Ht: 6′ 2″ Wt: 201 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- Craig Button: 105
- Future Considerations: 53
- Hockey Prophets: 42
- The Draft Analyst: 67
Another product of the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, Martin was a key defensive pillar for head coach Danton Cole. Martin was often paired with team captain Ryan Lindgren (Boston Bruins 2016 2nd round pick) and given the tough assignments night in and night out. Jake Oettinger, who was one of the NTDP goalies behind Martin and Lindgren paid Martin one of the best compliments you can for a defender:
“He is definitely a steady defenseman. I’m upset he’s going to Michigan because they’re getting a really good defenseman, but I’m happy for him,” Oettinger jokingly said of Martin this past summer at the National Junior Evaluation Camp. “Come next year, I think he definitely deserves to be a first-round pick.”
Martin is not going to wow any team with his offensive upside. What will be impressive to NHL clubs is how responsible Martin is in the defensive zone.Coupled with his smart and safe decisions with the puck. For a player with prototypical NHL size, Martin shows very good skating ability. His backward skating has big powerful strides which allow him to quickly transition to defense.
Michigan RHD Luke Martin having a solid game. There's a short list of top shutdown dmen for the 2017 draft and he's definitely on it.
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) January 22, 2017
Martin is not an overtly punishing player physically. He does, however, use his physical dimensions to eliminate attacking forwards along the boards and assist him in recovering the puck. One area of defensive improvement that Martin could make is he at times will chase the puck in his own zone instead of trusting his size and active stick to thwart the attack. This is a minor critique and one he likely grows out of.
The offensive aspects of Martin’s game need to further develop. The days of the defensive defenseman are quickly coming to a close. The modern defenseman must contribute at both blue lines and his output as a freshman at the University of Michigan is mildly concerning. But with the skills that Martin possesses there little evidence that he cannot become a dependable puck mover from the blueline.
Luke Martin – NHL Draft Projection
Martin has an outside chance of going late in the first round, but signs point to a second round selection for the St. Louis native.
“Possesses strong gap control and is patient in his defensive approach…is able to turn the puck up ice in transition quickly but is not a pure offensive guy…a pro defensive defenseman.” – Future Considerations
“Martin’s offensive abilities are still in the development stage, but he has the ability to skate well and move the puck. He had 20 points in 63 games last year for the US National U18 Team in the USDP and four points in seven games for Team USA at the U18 World Juniors while serving as assistant captain.” – Tim Chiasson
“Martin looks like a player that could develop nicely into a two-way defenseman at the NHL level. He plays smart offense, but many times was caught puck chasing in his own end. Needs a couple of years to develop more of the finer aspects of his game and remove some bad habits.” – Brian Fogerty
- Blend of size, skating and skill
- Defensive game already well developed
- Big, right-handed shooting defender
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Adjust mental approach to ‘two-way’ defender
- Continued Offensive development
Martin likely slots in as a two-way defender with middle-pairing upside if his development goes perfectly.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 4/10, Defense –8/10