We're five players into our first Top 25 Under 25 list, and we've yet to reach a player who received a vote from all six of our passionate but unlicensed, unapproved, non-PHWA panelists.
To me that's a good sign: Our panel has varied enough opinions to represent a cross-section of thought. But we'll see how you feel about Matt Martin at #21.
How you see Martin's value probably depends on a combination of how much you rate hitting and fighting, as well as how much you think Martin could potentially offer beyond the fourth-line ruckus-making he delivered last year.
|Top 25 Under 25||mikb||M11||CIL||Dom||KQ||Web|
Despite what Mario Lemieux's press office would tell you, Martin only played seven games in AHL Bridgeport last season. It was possibly a rush promotion for him early in the season, but he ended up playing 68 NHL games, the Friday Fight Fest being just one of many.
For a guy who scored 35 goals and over a point per game in his overage junior year, the curiosity lies in what his ceiling is and how best to nurture his development to reach that ceiling.
His possession stats were not good in 2010-11, although that was the fourth line for you. Does he need more, better minutes in Bridgeport to develop further? Probably, if you want him to do more than police and hit. (He was credited with a whopping 299 hits, nearly double second-place Islander Milan Jurcina.) Or are we already past that point?
Martin's 22 now and cultivating a nice mop and stache in his new team photo. So we got that. This may be a pivotal year in the direction his career takes.
If it's already decided he's just a fourth-liner, then maybe Martin doesn't even make this list. But as someone with nearly a full season of NHL experience under his belt and the possibility he's young enough to develop a little bit of bonus NHL-level offensive touch, it's risky to leave him off.
Previous Posts in this Series:
- Those who didn't make the Top 25
- #25: Anton Klementyev
- #24: Not to be Pedantic, but is it Andrei or Andrey Pedan
- #23: Mark Katic shoulders the burden
- #22: Rhett Rakhshani
The Top 25 under 25 is an idea conceived (I think) by Oilers blog Copper & Blue and copied elsewhere, incorporated here by popular demand. We cut it off at players who were under 25 going into this season, so Andrew MacDonald, having just turned 25 this month, barely misses eligibility.
For this first edition, we polled LHH authors Keith, WebBard, mikb, myself, and two particularly prospect-focused LHH regulars, CanadianIslesLifer and MatthewM11. We wanted enough to get a decent number of voters but not so much that we make the first run unwieldy. It is absolutely unscientific but solid enough with varied enough votes to get us thinking.