Matt Martin is off to a disastrous start with the Leafs

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Photo Credit: John E. Sokolowski/USA TODAY SPORTS

The Leafs’ signing of Matt Martin this past offseason has been a point of contention for this fanbase since it happened, and likely will be for the entire four years he’s in Toronto. With that said, as it stands right now, one side of that debate is clearly losing because even Martin’s biggest supporters really can’t point to anything tangible he’s brought to this team so far. And for even his harshest critics it’s probably unlikely they saw his contributions being this minuscule. 

I should stop here for a second and point out Martin is clearly a step up on the fourth liners this team used to employ in the Burke/Nonis days. No one is going to argue that. He’s a decent skater, can cycle somewhat, and the puck isn’t like a total grenade when it hits his tape. A staged fighter like Colton Orr he is not, and we can take some peace of mind from that. 

But still, to this point in the season Martin really hasn’t shown to be anything beyond sub-replacement-level, and it isn’t like he’s playing for peanuts. 

After notching ten goals and 19 points last season with the Islanders, I think some Leafs fans (myself included) figured Martin was at least decent enough to chip in a little offence from the fourth line, even if it wasn’t going to be 2.5-million dollars worth. To this point he has one assist in 17 games in blue and white. That’s it. He’s on pace for a whopping five points over 82 games.

Now, do I think Martin is ‘five-points-per-season’ bad? Probably not. I do believe he might be ten-points-per-season bad, though. And what’s even funnier is he isn’t even being sunk by bad luck, as his PDO (or on-ice sv% + sh%) is currently 100.5. This isn’t Colby Armstrong all over again, it’s actually looking to be worse.

For a guy on a long term contract that brings him into his thirties, Martin’s going to represent a good amount of egg on management’s face if this is all he is. It was a poor signing in the summer, and it’s looking like an even poorer one now that the games are under way. And that 2.5-million would come in handy if guys like Shattenkirk and Burns hit the market next summer.

And look, none of this is to question anything about Martin’s character or personality. His ripping of Drew Miller for his silver fox look was enough for me to like the guy. He’s supposedly a major worker, hits the gym, passes off good habits to the rookies, and I have no reason to doubt any of that is true.

But one point in seventeen games is one point in seventeen games, and it isn’t like he can move the needle otherwise. Martin hasn’t been good by shot-attempt metrics, posting a score-adjusted -3.19% CorsiRel at even strength, which is the worst of any forward on the team with 10+ games played not named Ben Smith. Martin also doesn’t get much in way of penalty-killing time either, with just 20 minutes played short-handed so far this season.

He isn’t driving play, he isn’t scoring, so what is he doing in terms of on-ice contributing? Well, he’s hitting people at least. Martin is probably going to match his total for body checks from last season, currently on pace for about 367 this year compared to 365 he landed with the Isles last season. That part of his game has been as-advertised, but for 10-million dollars and a roster spot locked in for these next four seasons, is it really worth it? [No, of course it isn’t.]

  • Ben

    Disastrous is an overstatement.

    He’s got the second best CA/60 of any Leaf forward. So while we’re bleeding out a bit when he’s on the ice, it’s at a much slower rate. In every day language: he slows down the game. That has value for any team that’s trying to hold a lead, even more so for a young one that obviously isn’t great defensively yet.

    As for the lack of points? He’s been attached at the hip to Ben Smith, what do you expect? Is our assessment of his play really completely different if he’s got a few more secondary assists at this point?

        • rfancey

          I agree being put on a line with Smith is not going to do anyone favours, but when Holland and Brown were with Martin on that line he looked badly out of place. And I mean, him and Smith have been boat anchors, but Smith is a waiver pickup and doesn’t have a 10 million dollar contract to try to live up to. All I’m saying is management got slammed for this deal and so far it’s been even worse than imagined.

          • Ben

            We’re both watching the same player and reading the same numbers. And while you see a sub-replacement level player, I see a decent 4th liner with a different skill set compared to the other forwards.

            Huge overpay in term and hit? Of course.

            Negative value? I just don’t think so. Again, he’s the second best shot suppressor on the Leafs this year, 81st/363 forwards (w/ 1000+ ES minutes) since 2014-15. That’s in the top quarter of the league and ‘slowing the game down’ has real, numbers-driven value when holding a lead.

            Equivalent to Ben Smith? Definitely not. Smith is 263rd/363 by the same measure. Smith can’t really do anything at this level, Martin can.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            I will give your response merit. You have done your research. What I’d honestly be interested in seeing is the list of 80 players above Martin. I’m sure a decent amount are on some pretty sweetheart deals.

  • Stan Smith

    I think it’s way too early to call him a failure. While he hasn’t figured in on scoring he hasn’t figured in too much on goals against either. I look at his-1 as not a bad thing. As for scoring he has 17 shots on net in 17 games which is pretty much in line with his past 2 years. If you take his 7.5% scoring rate he is only 1 goal under is usual scoring pace.

    To be honest i expected more of an energy game from him but find he has been pretty much invisible most times. It does appear that he is getting way overpayed. As long as the team keeps playing like they have it gives him time to get something going. If he doesn’t, well I guess you can’t be right 100% of the time.

  • DukesRocks

    What a stupid article. Ryan is under some assumption Leafs Management brought Matt Martin here to score goals and uses FANCY stats (no pun intended) to prove his worth. With 7 rookies in the line up, protection is key. This is the main reason Martin is here. Anything on the score sheet is gravy. I don’t care about advance stats either. In fact, I believe Corsi is a team or line stat, not an individual stat. My eyes tell me a players worth and for the most part, Martin holds his own on the ice and is not a liability. Martin is a -1 on a team that hasn’t been defensively good. What does that tell you Ryan? You and all the other pundits can quote advanced stats all you want, but none of those stats show the individual worth of a player. Until then, I’ll trust my eyes, which tells me he’s doing the job the team asked him to do.

    • Joe Robb from Burlington

      “I’m going to ignore smart hockey people and their data and instead rely on my own personal bias. Being smart is hard.” – DukesRocks 2016

          • DukesRocks

            I never wrote an article based on fiction, using a title that is pure hyperbole in the hopes of getting responses from Leaf fans. I responded to a BS article. That hardly makes me a writer

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            How is his start being bad anything but non-fiction? Sure “disastrous” might be a bit overexaggerated but it hasn’t been great. This is especially true given his cap hit. Is Martin x2 better than McLaren or Orr? They provided the same basic service for half the price. If you want to ignore fancy stats, we must agree that 2 assists is not nearly good enough, correct? I could luck into 2 assists playing in the NHL.

          • DukesRocks

            Why is Martin here? Is he here to score? Comparing Martin to goons is dumb. Remember Martin is playing with Ben Smith, which is not saying much. Martin had 19 points year. If he gets 19 points this year and was liability on defense, would that be success to you? Currently he’s -1 and has played on a defensively challenged team. That’s saying something. As I stated earlier, anything Martin provides in offense is gravy as long his presence keeps the flies off our rookies.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            “Comparing Martin to goons is dumb”

            “..as long his presence keeps the flies off our rookies” – Sounds like the definition of a goon to me. And, in order to keep flies off the rookies, wouldn’t he need to be playing on their line and not the 4th? If his job is to attract physical attention to himself, where is the proof he has done that? At least Kadri can do that while also providing offense.

            I compare him to a goon because that has been his production so far. Hits and PIMs with little to no offense over 17 games. If you don’t want to compare him to a goon, that’s fine, but when his contract could have gotten you a Parenteau AND a Hudler or a single Antoine Vermette (8 TP in 18 GP) with change to spare, I think he is a liability most nights. I think all of those guys have been around long enough to play some defense or at least keep the puck in the offensive zone. And what about Clune? Can he not provide the same service over Martin for a fraction of the cost? Maybe his production turns around? But what you also have to realized is that, in addition to Smith (who, like both of us, the universe agrees is an AHLer at best), there is another, young guy on that line who is being dragged down. Also, if he is so good defensively, why is he not playing more short-handed? Maybe his plus-minus is more a component of his linemates as you propose with Corsi.

          • LukeDaDrifter

            If you are using stats then why not compare him to Matthews over the last 16 games. Matthews has scored two more goals than Martin. If Martin is a Disaster therefore it follows Matthews must be a catastrophe. No one believes that to be true. Hockey stats never tell the full story.

            Everyone knows you can use hockey stats to backup any amount of BS you care to spout. Ryan gave us all the stats before last nights game to show us the Leafs had virtually no chance of beating a top ten Corsi team. Panther’s defence was way above anything the Leafs could put on the ice. Panthers had two first lines our guys would never be able to stop.

            Yet when the game was finished the score was 6 to 1 for the Leafs.How could a team with such overwhelming hockey stats compared to the Leafs possibly lose to them in that fashion? Doesn’t that tell you anything about the reliability of the stats Ryan is touting?

            Why is there a constant barrage of articles using unreliable hockey stats, condemning Bozak, Hunwick, Polak, Smith, Martin, Gardiner, Andersen,. etc. when the Leafs are playing so well. Sure there is always room for constructive criticism. There has been nothing constructive about the articles I mostly read here.

            As for Martin. Put him on waivers and see how fast he is gone. Then stand back and watch how many face-washes the Leafs receive after every stoppage in play.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            “If Martin is a Disaster therefore it follows Matthews must be a catastrophe” – Matthews is in a slump. The pucks aren’t going in. He is still sitting at a reasonable 10% shooting percentage on the season. Based on a quick count, he has had 59 shots in his last 16 (3.5 per game). Martin has 16 (1 per game).

            “Everyone knows you can use hockey stats to backup any amount of BS you care to spout” – Ok, then show me the stats that I choose to ignore to disprove my argument. I’m not picking and choosing. The vast majority are in agreeance with me.

            “Ryan gave us all the stats before last nights game to show us the Leafs had virtually no chance of beating a top ten Corsi team” – Anything can happen in any game. Small sample. Lucky bounces. The Canucks beat the NYR the other night. What’s your point?

            “Why is there a constant barrage of articles using unreliable hockey stats” – “Unreliable” based on what? Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean they are unreliable.

            “Bozak, Hunwick, Polak, Smith, Martin, Gardiner, Andersen” – The writers on here have mostly rescinded their complaints on Bozak or at least warmed up to him. Gardiner is typically supported here by most writers and statisticians but is picked apart by fans due to his giveaways. Andersen was bad but most articles summarized that they expected better and he has since turned it around (much like Matthews’ scoring will). The rest are widely accepted in being below average so it’s odd that you grouped these players together.

            “nothing constructive about the articles” – Constructive is saying some of these players shouldn’t have been signed, especially given most critiqued their signing with stats predicting what we are seeing now. Constructive is recommending other options. Constructive is agreeing the team is good but also that it could be even better. Should we give up drafting and development now that this team is sooooo good?

            “As for Martin. Put him on waivers and see how fast he is gone.” – Well, there are people like Kekalainen, Murray, Benning, Bergevin and Nonis still working in the NHL. What’s your point?

          • DukesRocks

            Ryan/Joe from Burlington/Hockeykeeperkit, or whatever you want to call yourself. I really don’t see your point with names like Parenteau, Hudler or Vermette. Why would I use them when we have names like Greening Michalek, Laich and Holland sitting in the AHL, and guess what they make more coin than Martin.

            So explain to me why is all this skill sitting in the AHL and Martin is on the big club? According to you Babcock has no clue what he’s doing, considering Martin is a goon with one point and there’s more skill sitting in the AHL.

            Explain to me how Martin start is “DISASTROUS”. So he only has one point. Is the team not over .500 presently? Are you stating somehow if Martin had 3 to 5 points the team would have a better record?

            Based on what do you feel Martin is a defensive liability?

            In a traditional sense, do you understand the point/objective of a 4th line?

            Lastly if Martin was playing with a skilled centre like McDavid. Do you think it’s possible for him to get 12 to 15 goals in a season? My point is, you’re as good as the sum off your parts. Babcock put Smith with Martin and Sosh. I haven’t heard Babcock complain publically once about that line not producing or being a defensive liability. If Babcock wanted more offensive production, put a better centre with them.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Are you implying we are all the same person?
            Regardless, all I was trying to show was the players that were signed this off-season for a comparable hit. Greening, Laich and Michalek were never really part of the Leaf’s long-term plans. They were all involved in salary dumps so that the Leafs could acquire Lindberg and Carrick. Holland has never really gotten a chance with Babcock but I would still rather him over Martin.

            The problem is the notion of what a 4th line contributes historically versus the future. The New York Rangers have seen the trend. Look at their third and fourth line. I don’t see a single bruiser in that lineup. Look at their GA versus GF. They are number one in GF and top 10 in GA.

            Martin is definitely not contributing to the Leaf’s W%. This is an 82 game season, and yes, if he was a 12 to 15 goals scorer, it would definitely be reflected in their overall W% over the course of an entire season.

          • DukesRocks

            For a person all over this forum trying to defend the stupidity of this article, I’m pretty sure I’m talking to the author Ryan. While the acquisition of Greening etc were salary dumps, the point was they are NHL experienced players that have offensive skill set that can match the players you mention. So basically your argument holds no water. What you would rather have, “Holland over Martin” is irrelevant. I would rather have Gauthier or Holland over Smith but we don’t make those decisions. Your point was Martin is disastrous and is a goon. You used bogus stats over a SMALL SAMPLE SIZE to try and prove your point of view, while overlooking the players past history. You mention the Rangers, who aren’t dealing with 7 rookies on their team and are not part of a rebuild. To me the example is apples and oranges and again I see no relevance to the argument. Do you honestly believe Martin will have 5 points at the end of the year? Do you honestly believe in projection/forecasts over less then one quarter of the season? The bottom line is, your argument has no merit and all this was just an attempt to drive readers and attention. In my opinion that’s shameful journalism.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            You’ve totally mistranslated my comments and construed them to fit your argument. Your viewpoint alone does not serve as proof. At least I attempt to bring facts/numbers/comparables to the table.

            Salary dumps are salary dumps for a reason. Toronto had room to bury bad contracts, Ottawa/Washington did not. Sure, if they can still contribute, use them. I don’t understand how you can defend Babcock’s decision on Martin and/or Corrado but in the same breath imply that Laich/Greening/Michalek were acquired as experienced players with skill despite their relocation to the minors. No, they were acquired in order to get a prospect. The Rangers have three guys on entry-level contracts, only one forward over 30, and an average forward age of 25. That might not be a rebuild but it is a re-tooling. Look at Anaheim, Montreal, Nashville, Tampa, Pittsburgh, Washington, San Jose. Where is their “Martin”?

            Martin had a career high 19 points last season and has averaged a measly 14 over the past 6. Funny how he scored a career high in his contract year, eh? Crazy how his shooting percentage went up 2.5% over his BEST year in the past 6. Crazy how that happens. Crazy! It’s almost like the Leafs bought high. Almost like they did with Clarkson. Huh, funny how comparable they are too. Bangers with some touch. Remind me, how did he work out again? Ah right. He was traded away in probably the most famous salary dump for salary dump in NHL history. Oh, but he has experience so obviously Columbus is using that now to their advantage. Wait? They aren’t? Crazy…

            Yes, I would much rather have a Hudler and a Parenteau who could at least contribute 30-40 points each. I wouldn’t call their careers small samples. Even Holland averaged 25 over the past two (he’s young and still only played three quarters each year). These examples were bought at a low. They have veteran presence. They’re contracts end quickly to allow for kids like Gauthier, Kapanen, Leipsic, etc. to play next year and not 4 years from now like Martin contract requires. My proposed vets are just examples though. One of them alone would contribute at least 15 more points and that could easily mean a few more wins on the season. With a team like the Leafs that has been historically notorious of missing the playoffs by a few points, a few more wins on the season is a big deal.

            Sure, 18 games isn’t a huge sample but it isn’t small either. One of the first things you learn in statistics courses is that 30 is a good sample. We are two thirds of the way there. Not good enough? How about 278 shifts? How about 3 hours and 5 minutes? Is that not enough to judge Martin?

            So go ahead. Ignore these actual facts/examples/comparables. Pick and choose one or two topics I addressed to call irrelevant. At least that way you don’t have to admit the merits of all the other ones.

          • DukesRocks

            You make me laugh. You’re bitching about Martin’s 2.5M X 4 contract and in the same breath state “it’s the Leafs” they can afford salary dumps. Next year, will Martin’s contract have any bearing on Leaf’s cap space? If the answer is no, then why do you care. By the way, Martin’s contract compared to Clarkson is a reach, to say the least.

            I never ever mention Corrado, my discussion was only about Martin and your stupid article. I never once stated I agree with all Babcock decisions. I find some of the moves the Leafs make, suspect/suspicious but since we’re in a rebuild and I’m not aware of their plan, a little grace is in order.

            Cody Bass plays for Nashville, Tom Wilson plays for Washington, San Jose and Anaheim are pretty big teams with loads of guys that can fight and play physical. Montreal, Tampa, and Pittsburgh are veteran teams for the most part that don’t have 7 rookies to worry about. Should we now look at the other 24 teams?

            One of the best skilled tough guys out there is Wayne Simmons. I wish we had a guy like that but we don’t. Simmons plays with Giroux and this helps him put up more points due to the skill level on the line. He also protects the little guy from certain dirty liberties. You have to look at who Martin is playing with and curve your expectation based on that. Based on what Martin has to play with I don’t have high expectation of offense, I’m sure the Leafs brass don’t and neither should the fans. However, I do expect Martin’s line to energize the team, through the forecheck, cycle game, hits and the occasional fight.

            Stating the Leafs should have signed Parenteau over Martin because he gives us more offense for less money is a waste of time to argue. You obviously feel the NHL is a happy go luck league and all the teams get along and sing Kumbaya. Reading through some of the comments here many share my sediments on the value Martin bring to the table. Hockey isn’t something you read in a book or a stat line. Stats will never capture how great the game is or a player’s worth. Believe it or not but there are stats that contribute to wins that don’t show up in points.

    • Krakondack

      I thought the same, as I read the article. Corsi numbers, to me, are a supplement to other stats, and when people use them as the primary stat, they lose credibility.

      When Corsi and +/- agree, it means that possession is driving offense, and is not a defensive liability. But when they disagree, that’s where the useful info lies. A guy with great Corsi, and bad +/- is prone to taking big risks, which reduce the numbers of shots against, when they work, but when they don’t work, they cause a breakaway, or leave a guy alone in front of the net. Use only Corsi, and you’re blind to this. There’s hidden value in guys with consistently good +/-, with mediocre Corsi. And Martin’s -1 on the Leafs is not bad.

  • Awesomodian

    Hard to worry about a 4th liner when there are these amazing rookies flying around the ice and a severe lack of depth on the blueline. Also 19 games in. So lets leave this worry for a bit see what happens and in a year or two when we could actually be challenging for something we can see where he is at

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      There is depth on the blueline, unfortunately it just isn’t being utilized or the pairings haven’t been maximized. I’m not sure how many back to backs the Leafs have had but the fact that Corrado has only drawn into one game so far (over someone like Hunwick or Polak) is astounding to me. What’s interesting is, while the sentiment used to be that we need to over-bake rookies in the minors or slowly transition them in, we also need to make sure that the veterans we use in the meantime aren’t dragging down the team and their (young) linemates while they develop. I loved what Martin did during the Vancouver game but, really, how often does that happen where a player like him is needed? I’d much rather see a cheap, solid veteran like Parenteau filling out the bottom of the lineup and giving that veteran presence than a far more expensive and less impactful option like Martin. As always, the entire focus of the critique is the that he is too expensive for what he provides. Would his signing have been acceptable is his caphit was 1-1.5 million? Maybe. But considering he is the 7th highest paid forward on the team (with #1 and #2 being Horton and Lupul), we should be right in expecting better.

      • HockeyKeeperKit

        Hell, it looks like loop-hole Lou already figured out a way to keep a veteran around for nothing compared to Martin’s contract. While Prust might be part of a bigger plan, he is still around the team, showing them how to work off the ice for nothing. Are we tied to him for 4 more years? No.

      • Stan Smith

        I am not going to argue that Martin isn’t overpaid. The only comment i am going to make is that if you don’t understand why Polak aand Hunwick are playing and Corrado isn’t you do not really understand the game of hockey. Fortunately Babcock and crew do.

        • HockeyKeeperKit

          Really? Do you have to presume that anyone who doesn’t agree with you doesn’t know the game? That’s so ridiculously immature. All I implied was that they use their depth when needed (fatigue, etc). How do we have any idea how good Corado is when he doesn’t play? He looked fine in the game he did and that was after like 15 missed games.

          • Stan Smith

            I am stating one thing and one thing only, and that is anyone that doesn’t understand why Polak and Hunwick are playing instead of Corrado do not understand the game. period. You can disagree all you want. But I firmly believe that. I am also going to state that the collective minds of Babcock, Lou, Shanahan etc know more about hockey than any of us writing and commenting, and they fully understand why it is necessary to have players like Polak and Hunwick playing.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Ok, then what is that reason exactly? Veteran presence? Grit? If your entire reason is that “management decides to use them, therefore, I must also agree because they are smart people and so am I”, that’s not a great argument. Whatever value you think they bring, do we need both of them to provide it? My argument is, even is Corrado is a lesser player, you have no proof to that fact because he doesn’t play. And even the rare time he will get to play is not a good sample of his potential because he will inherently be rusty. He is younger and has more room to grow and his future is severely at risk without at least some playing time. I think Corrado has a chance of being better but it is impossible to know. His past numbers indicate he probably is and theirs indicate they aren’t any better, if not worse. Polak barely played on San Jose. Corrado is a valuable right-handed shot, that of which we have no RHD prospects in the minors. Like you, I am firm in my belief that this is proof that Corrado deserves a chance. You can argue the value of Hunwick/Polak versus Corrado all you like but this is, in the very least, poor asset management in letting him go to waste. Either play him at least every third game, trade him (which is probably impossible at this point), or waive him before he wastes away to nothing because it is extremely unfair to him to keep him in limbo.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            I’m not saying Corrado is a offensive dynamo, but the numbers below show that his is considerably better at playing defense than Polak. He is also better at generating shots and better at controlling the puck. Again, this is with minimal playing time. Could it all be a fluke and the result of a small sample? Sure. But Polak has had a big one and he is off the charts (in a bad way) in at least two ranks and no better in the others. Giving Corrado at least a small chance to play so we can find out.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.c

          • Stan Smith

            I agree that it sucks for Corrado and it would help his development if he got out of TO, but as Babcock has stated it is unfortunate for him that there are 7 players ahead of him on the depth chart. He seems to be in that limbo area where he isn’t bad enough to put on waivers but isn’t good enough to make the team.

            As for Polak and Hunwick they are by far the best 2 dmen in their own end. Hunwick hasn’t played as well this season as last but he is still very good at separating the opposing forward and the puck. Polak is having a great season. He is the best dman at breaking up the cycle, boxing players out on front of the net, and blocking shots. Neither player are liked by the fancy stat crowd because they have no offensive upside but their defensive play is the reason why they are there.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            That’s the problem then. You prefer players who you can see breaking up the cycle with physicality. Corrado is the type of player who breaks it up with good positioning, pass intersections, puck races, clearing rebounds above clearing the man, etc.. Corrado has no real offensive upside either so why would the stats crowd value him so much?

          • Stan Smith

            I look at this two ways. First with Corrado’s history. The Vancouver Canucks have been a mess, and going down hill rapidly for the past 2 to 3 seasons. Corrado was put on waivers by them. After the Leafs picked him up he sat until the tank was in full swing. Then he played 27 games on the third pairing for the team that finished last in the NHL. Not a huge endorsement for his abilities.

            Now, Babcock gets to see him practice, day in and day out, and doesn’t dress him. Do you not think that if he was really so much better than Hunwick and Polak that he would be playing? I understand your thinking that Babcock is not infallible, but his knowledge of the game well surpasses mine, so I assume he knows what he is doing in this case.

            i will finish with stating that I don’t think Hunwick, Polak, Corrado, or even Marincin, are going to be with the Leafs for very long. Two years down the road their D is going to look drastically different from what it does right now.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Finally, we come to an agreement. Yes. All three will probably be gone and I’m fine with that. I’m living in the now though. This season.

            One thing I will slightly modify is your Corrado history. Everyone wondered why Corrado didn’t play last year for the first chunk of the season. As we found out, it was his recovery from an injury and not Babcock’s assessment of him as being sub-par. Also, the third pair is typically not the scoring pair. They typically get the harder defensive minutes and that is an area he does quite well in, especially compared to Polak/Hunwick. What the reason is this year, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s attitude? I doubt it though given he hasn’t said anything, his agent hasn’t said anything, management hasn’t said anything. Something is going on. He should be healthy given he has slotted in for one game. I really have no idea but I have a hard time believing it is entirely his fault.

            I’m not saying he should be a top 4 defender either. I’m also not saying we should just waive Hunwick or Polak. They have merits, I’ll admit that. I’m also not saying he should play 82. I’d be content with 40 or even 30GP. I’m just saying he should be top 5/6. Allow the other guys to get a rest on a back to back or on the road. If Babcock want to label him the 7th defenseman, at least use him as his role implies.

          • Stan Smith

            It does make you wonder why they don’t try and get him into a few games just to keep him active, because having him sit makes him worth nothing at all. Maybe it is because he is better suited for a shutdown role but unfortunately only has 68 games experience compared to Polak’s 500+ and Hunwick’s 400+. it’s easy to see where Babcock would want to experienced players out there in that role.

            I agree with you that it is interesting that you do not hear of Corrado, or his agent, complaining about his lack of playing time.

            With your back to back game comment. I think that is a topic worth a complete different conversation. If teams could figure out a way to have a better chance of winning that second game it can make a huge difference in the standings. Look at last week. Did anyone expect the Leafs to beat Pittsburgh after playing Philly the night before? The Leafs have 18 back to backs this year. That’s a whopping 36 points.

          • HockeyKeeperKit

            Your telling me Babcock has never been wrong? He’s not a omniscient godly being that has never been incorrect. I’m not saying he is wrong more than he is right. I’m just saying there is a possibility he’s wrong on this one. And it is unfair to Corrado to give him only 1 GP in the first 18.

      • Awesomodian

        Fair enough on the Martin front, but I prefer to withhold judgement till a larger sample size is reached. As for Corrado I have seen no signs in the times he’s played that he deserves much of a higher spot on the depth chart. We have some promising guys coming up below him in the ranks and I fully bevelive niether he, polak or hunwick will not be in the conversation next year

  • LukeWarmWater

    Ryan I’m delighted to see 21 replies to the ultimate serious question about the leafs. Now I must profusely apologise for having the audacity to comment about a 6 to 1 leaf win that saw the youngsters indeed flying all over the ice. I’m ashamed for having commented about that game along with brother Luke, whereas my true priority should have been on Martin and this outstanding, profound debate on the merits of a fourth liner.

    Just a reminder to my fellow posters the next Mensa meeting has been postponed for two weeks.

    • LukeDaDrifter

      I have sent in my hand written, personal, resignation from Mensa. The reason I gave was that ” I wouldn’t belong to any organization that would have me as a member.”

    • LukeWarmWater

      Speaking of Strome, I recall before the draft that there was some talk about his skating ability. Well that world speed skater Ben Hutton pulled away from young Strome who had to slash him and ended up costing his team a penalty shot which Hutton scored on resulting in a rare Canucks win. Kind of makes you happy that the Coyotes took Strome and we got Marner.

  • leafdreamer

    Guys, somebody has to play defense, kill penalties and protect the kids. You simply can’t ice a roster composed of corsi and fantasy-hockey darlings. Matt Martin is doing his job. So is Polak. So is Ben Smith. You can’t judge them with statistics. If you have a defensive zone faceoff you’re better off with Smith talking the draw and Polak boxing people out than some kids with high corsi scores in junior. If you have a dirty rat trying to injure or intimidate your kids someone has to be there to beat him up or hit him. That’s Matt Matin’s role. You – Ryan and Jeff are not ‘the fanbase’ that is critcal of Martin or Polak – you are a bunch of basement-bloggers who jumped on the corsi bandwagon in hope of getting paid and looking smarter than regular fans. Ordinary fans – young and old who follow this team have no problem with Polak and Martin, much less with Hunwick or Bozak – they enjoy the hits and fights and passes and faceoffs wins (in Bozak’s case) and appreciate what these hard-working Leafs bring. Ever thought of actually supporting the team you’re watching? We’re doing well. Martin and Polak are contributing to this team’s success. How about trying to be fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs for a change?

    • HockeyKeeperKit

      Critiquing individual players doesn’t not equal not supporting the team. The players that are of concern make up maybe 10% of the team. We enjoy and probably mostly support the top players on this team. People who take the time to comment on small blogs are the upper tier of fans. We may not all agree, but we do care. We do watch the games for enjoyment. Critiquing is simply a plea for them to be and get even better.