The image says it all. He's a great defenseman and overall great contributor to the Los Angeles Kings, but Alec Martinez has solidified himself as a legend in his team's community. For those who believe that calling him a "legend" is a bit over-the-top, remember that only two players have scored Stanley Cup overtime-winners on home ice prior to Martinez in the post-expansion era: Bobby Orr in 1970 and Bob Nystrom a decade later. While I am certainly not comparing Martinez to the aforementioned, that is very good company to be a part of. With that said, Alec Martinez dfd have a great season prior to his big goal.
In his fourth full season with the Kings, Martinez scored 11 goals and added 11 assists in 61 games while being tied for the best plus-minus among Los Angeles defenseman (with Drew Doughty) with +17. The latter stat was a significant improvement from his -2 finish in 2013. But of his 11 tallies, the 27-year-old was able to light the lamp three times on the power play en route to registering eight points overall on the man-advantage.
Martinez even helped out physically with 96 hits while he blocked 75 shots, keeping the puck out of harm's way on a consistent basis. The latter stat may not seem overly impressive but fans must appreciate the defensive liability Martinez was when he first suited up for the Kings' organization.
Drafted 95th overall by the Kings in 2007, Alec Martinez certainly seemed out of his element on both sides of the ice, much less just on the blueline. His vast improvement over the last few years only shows just how committed the Los Angeles Kings have been to bolstering their vaunting defensive unit, even with players, like Martinez, who appeared to be nothing short of castoffs.
But as per the theme for the Kings this season, the native of Rochester Hills, Michigan, only got better once the playoffs started.
In the postseason, Martinez played in all 26 games, scoring five goals and adding five assists. Two of his five tallies came on the power play and we all know how the last of his five goals turned out. He may have only been a +1 in the playoffs but No. 27 was still dominant, firing 38 shots on goal while stepping it up physically with 39 hits. He also helped out defensively with 50 blocked shots.
Overall, Alec Martinez has come into his own with the Los Angeles Kings and continues to emphasize his importance on a defensive unit which is, in the risk of sounding biased, for all intents and purposes, the envy of the National Hockey League.
He doesn't score every night and he doesn't make the regular headlines, but Alec Martinez is no less important than any of the others who don the silver-and-black - and fans in Los Angeles wouldn't take their unsung hero any other way.
Overall grade for Alec Martinez: A