With the Flyers’ defensive deficiencies early on this season, could they look to trade for veteran d-man Alec Martinez?
Before we get started, the trade machine series represents hypotheticals. In no way have there been any known reports of the Flyers inquiring about this trade. However, it could be a match made in heaven for the Flyers.
The Flyers’ defense has been abysmal lately. In Saturday night’s loss to the Bruins, the orange and black just couldn’t stop the Bruins’ forecheck. In fact, even in their wins this season, they have looked sloppy. Just using the eye test, they haven’t been good in transition or finding their man in the defensive zone. Just simply look at the Bruins’ game Saturday night- the Flyers gave Marchand and Bergeron way too much time and space in the third period when they scored their goals.
In essence, the Flyers are just missing Matt Niskanen. After Niskanen unexpectedly retired this offseason, Philadelphia has not been able to find his replacement on the top line. They brought in Erik Gustafsson, but aside from game one, he has looked dreadful. Shayne Gostisbehere has not played yet after testing positive for COVID-19, but he isn’t really the most ideal stay-at-home guy. The Flyers need a veteran who can settle down tempo and play alongside Ivan Provorov.
That one man may be Alec Martinez.
Alec Martinez’s Career
Let me start this off by saying one thing:
Alec Martinez is a 2x Stanley Cup champion.
After Martinez was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2007 draft, it did not take long for him to make an impact for their blue line. He was a fourth-round pick by the team and made his debut two years later for four games at the age of 22. Eventually, he went on to be on the top defensive pairing for the Kings, contributing to their Stanley Cup wins in 2012 and 2014.
And when I say contributing, I mean he literally scored the game winner for the Kings in the 2014 finals. This goal made the Kings top the Rangers in game five.
During his decade run of wearing a Kings’ jersey, Martinez accumulated 62g and 136a in 597 games. The stats may not scream production. But, he made a career of being exactly what the Flyers need right now: a stable stay-at-home defenseman.
Eventually, his rein with Los Angeles came to an end. The Kings traded the veteran defenseman to the Golden Knights in exchange for a 2020 second-round draft pick as well as a 2021 second-round draft pick that had originally belonged to the St. Louis Blues.
Martinez was acquired during the Knights run for the cup. This trade actually vaulted them up the power rankings at the time as well, showing Martinez’s value. During his tenure with them right now, the 33-year-old has 11 points in 15 games. He still has some left in the tank, with his value peaking now more than ever for another trade.
There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that Alec Martinez should pique the interest of the Flyers’ front office. With the team struggling defensively, the veteran would likely instantly come in and be paired with Ivan Provorov.
Along with this, he is only a $4 million cap hit with this season being the last remaining on his contract. The main perk of this would be that the Flyers would not have to protect him in the expansion draft, which would ultimately leave one of their young studs vulnerable.
Patience will be key for the Flyers, though. Their young core tends to take a bit of time every year to settle in, but something about this year feels different. It’s great to be in second place right now, but we want to improve and stabilize that. Martinez could be an optimal trade deadline deal assuming the Flyers are still competitive.
Martinez’s trade value is also at a recent high. He’s producing at a nearly point-per-game rate for Vegas. Along with this, he’s still a stable top-4 guy for any team. Along with this, nearly every trade deadline deal revolves around a guy on an expiring contract who would be a rental. With all of this in the mix, let’s not forget to mention that Vegas has already been shopping him this offseason.
Flyers’ Trade Package
Martinez originally was traded for two second round picks. His value is going to be about the same, if not lower, now that he is older and his contract is expiring. Along with this, if Vegas is known to be taking offers, that takes some of their leverage away as well. Vegas’ young defensemen are beginning to produce as well.
The Flyers could get this deal done for little to nothing. As much we’d want them to put Erik Gustafsson in the package, it’s probably not realistic. That idea would make the contracts balance, but so would sending Shayne Gostisbehere.
Ghost’s $4.5 million cap hit being exchanged for Martinez’s $4 million would actually save the team half a million for the Flyers as well. Vegas could be a perfect spot for Ghost to get a fresh start and to buy some time to let Nicolas Hague and their strong defensive core to develop even further. The Flyers also have a ton of defensive depth on their own, so freeing Ghost and then Martinez after this season makes a lot of sense. This would open up an additional spot for their top prospects in the near future (i.e. Zamula, York, Attard).
Ghost likely doesn’t get the deal done on his own, but package him with a mid-round pick, and it might. It all depends on how other teams around the league view his trade value, but this could be the perfect trade for both teams’ current situations.
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