Silence for most of the day in Toronto, the Maple Leafs have finally made some noise on free agent day by signing hit machine Matt Martin to a four-year contract reportedly worth $10 million.
The Maple Leafs have signed forward Matt Martin. #TMLtalk
— Toronto Maple Leafs (@MapleLeafs) July 1, 2016
Martin, formerly a New York Islander, will join another hit king in Toronto with new teammate Leo Komarov. He had 365 hits last season to lead the NHL in that category in 80 games – averaging 4.56 hits per game and nearly 26 hits per 60 minutes.
In comparison, Komarov had 283 hits – averaging 4.22 hits per game and just over 14 per 60 minutes.
While he’s not known for his offensive abilities, he’s recorded 88 points (42g-46a) in 438 regular season games with the Islanders. He’s coming off his best career season in 2015-16 having played 80 games and scoring 10 goals and 19 points to go along with 119 penalty minutes.
The $2.5-million cap hit is more than some teams would be willing to pay, however with the cap rising, it’s not overly high for a guy that be a shut down depth forward for the young Maple Leafs squad.
He’s a bottom six guy, but one that brings physicality that can open the ice for the guys playing around him. Don’t expect him to be a major asset for the Leafs as they continue to develop their young farm team, but he’ll do for the time between now and when the current Marlies become full-time ready Maple Leafs.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.