I hate to be the bad guy here but I feel like that injury to Martinek may have been the best thing for this hockey club. Freddy Meyer in my opinion is a talented defenseman that I felt deserved to be in the line-up the whole season. As far as im concerned he is a better player than Radek Martinek in every aspect.
Defensive Zone play - Lately when the other team gets the puck behind the net Radek has been employing this no pressure defensive that results in me screaming at the TV as loud as I can. You can't give that kind of time and space to NHL players and expect things to work out well. Also it seems he , more than anyone else , will just dump it out of the defensive zone without even picking up his forwards which more often than not results in an easy turnover or a bonehead icing. While Freddy is much more of a hustle player and will at the very least be skating as hard as he can instead of sitting and waiting to have his brains sniped out. I admit Freddy will probably get caught in the wrong spot occasionally but thats what REBUILDING is all about, developing young skilled players with high upside. As far as im concerned neither are great in the D-Zone but I'd give the edge to Martinek because he is more apt to give up the body on a shot than Freddy is right now.
Offensive Zone Play - From what i've seen Martinek has no interest in contributing offensively and when given the opportunity he tends to flounder. He is too quick to panic with the puck so he doesn't really make the crisp passes instead almost always dumping it low forcing the forwards to work their butts off just to maintain the possesion. He has shown the rare snipe that amazes me and gets me going wild but those are few and far between and majority of his shots miss the net. Martinek never pinches and always plays it safe which is good if you've got an offensive juggernaut but thats not us. Ever since I've seen Sutt's and Hillen start pinching it seems like our extended attacks have gone through the roof , resulting in a ton of good chances for our skilled forwards. Meyer brings a huge smile to my face offensively because not only can he contribute offensively but he loves to do it. His speed and aggressiveness make him an ideal offensive defensman since he recognizes an opportunity to pinch and he is so aggressive that he won't think twice so he will extend alot of our attacks in that fashion(especially when paired with Witt who would never leave the D-Zone if he didn't have to). He brings a strong shot with decent accuracy and is a definite weapon at the point. He is also an underated passer and has an eye for the long pass. As far as im concerned It's a no contest in the O-Zone with Meyer being the better player. (The stats support that Meyer 0G-4A in 9 GPwhile Martinek has 2G-1A in 16 GP)
Perhaps the main reason that I feel Meyer > Martinek is the big hits. He has the ability to change the game with those big hip checks much like Sutts has done lately(Freddy had a nice one tonight). This isn't just for entertainment value however , it seems like all season Radek has been getting burnt down the boards into his own zone mainly because of his lack of desire to throw the big hit. We have seen how a well placed hip shuts down a rush down the boards with Sutts and Freddy , while nowhere near the size of Sutts , has the same desire to make that big Hit and shut down the other teams rush on the spot.
While it's never good to see one of our long-term players get hurt and have it be an extended absence I really do feel this will be the best thing for us in the end. It's unfortunate that we can't make any moves with Radek now to get a pick or two but I take the trade of Radek for Freddy straight up anyday. I know most people are going to be begging for Snow to make a move or to get Da Hann up but im thrilled Freddy is finally going to get an extended opportunity and I wont be suprised when he and the team thrives as a result