Spending big on Matt Martin and the fourth line is unsustainable for the NY Rangers

Larry Brooks suggested yesterday that the NY Rangers should target Matt Martin in the offseason. Martin, who is a UFA this offseason after a fairly successful run with the Islanders, would add some grit and snarl to the fourth line. The 31 year old forward would come as a rather expensive offseason add for a team that is limited on cap space at the moment. The Rangers also have more pressing matters.

Martin’s Contract and Performance

Matt Martin is not really that good. He certainly adds a physical presence, but that’s really all he does. He’s a very one-dimensional player.

There’s nothing wrong with going after players with some snarl to their game. However when it comes to Martin and fourth liners, ensuring there is more to their game than just punching is critical. Martin is an offensive black hole and somewhat ok on defense. At the contract he’s going to sign, you need more than this.

The contract is also going to be a concern. Martin is three years at $1.57 million. It doesn’t sound horrible on the surface. The optics of using half the Henrik Lundqvist buyout savings to sign Martin aside, it’s not fiscally responsible. The Islanders are in a cap crunch because they have $10.85 million tied up in fourth liners Ross Johnston, Casey Cizikas, Leo Komarov, and Cal Clutterbuck. Now they will have issues re-signing Mat Barzal and Ryan Pulock.

You don’t spend big on replaceable players.

There Are Better Options

This is the key piece as well. If the Rangers do need to replace Jesper Fast, there are some much better low cost options available. Specifically, Stefan Noesen. That’s just from the free agent list too.

Internally, the Rangers have too many bottom-six options to just throw money at a puncher. They tried that with Micheal Haley, and it didn’t work out. They have other options like Morgan Barron, Justin Richards, Austin Rueschhoff, and Patrick Khodorenko. None of these are noted punchers, but they can actually do more than just punch.

Finding cheap options for your fourth line is how the best teams win. It’s worth noting that neither Stanley Cup Final team has a noted puncher either. There are too many reasons why Matt Martin and the Rangers just doesn’t work.

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    • You fail to understand the meaning of the word adult. Adults do listen to most things. Perhaps I am deluded, but I think a true adult spends more time thinking about stuff other than clever insults.

      Larry Brooks has connections, experience, and a perspective on the game which is worth taking into account. The article in question is very well thought out and does not really take a position. Martin is not a puncher, but rather a good fourth line player.

      I personally think – and oddly I disagree with Dave and Brooks both here – that the Rangers are just fine with a fourth line that does not play much. The more time the fourth line plays, the less we see of Panarin and Zibanejad. And so of course, we should not spend too much on the fourth line.

      Note: The islanders fourth line did not score much but was far and away the best line on the team at preventing opposing goals. That is a good fourth line IMO, a line that allows the game to be decided when your best players are on the ice.

      • Your fourth line typically is a defensive unit not a scoring unit normally any scoring you get is a bonus but it’s nice to know that there are guys that can put the puck in the net and every time the other team can put their number one out against your fourth line they will that’s why they have to be able to stop goals from happening

  • agree with all of the above. And I will add do we really need another left wing? I think we are pretty set on the left side for next year…

  • A team needs grit, energy and scoring contributions from their 4th line. But in a salary cup world, budgets are tight. The Rangers do have these kind of grinding players in their system. It is just a matter of promoting them and giving them a shot on the team. They don’t need to blow their wad on Matt Martin.

    • “The Rangers do have these kind of grinding players in their system.”

      Like who? I have been preaching the opposite of this for the past 4-5 years. This team hasn’t produced much quality homegrown bottom 6 player since Jesper Fast broke into the league.

      Hartford has been full of losers at every position/role since 2016.. Chytil and ADA passed through for stints. Boo has been the closes role player in the last decade. Those undrafted NCAA prospects aren’t going to grow into reliable NHL’ers that can contribute 10-15 mins a night.

      Same goes for Gauthier, he can’t even carve out a role for himself yet.

      • Hartford has been full of losers at every position since 2016….Well it is true that during the “got to win during the Lundqvist window” the Rangers did move some draft picks and prospects.

        But the cupboard wasn’t completely empty at every position. Georgie came through the system as did Chytil which you mentioned. The Rangers really dropped the ball on defenseman Ryan Graves who never even got a look.

        Lias is still a part of the organization and perhaps a reconciliation may bring him back to the club in January. I still believe he could become a solid bottom 6 NHL player once he sorts himself out.

        Kravtsov time in Hartford wasn’t all for not. He return to the KHL an much improved player and is lighting up the scoreboard in the Russian hinterlands. Bo didn’t hurt the club when he was called up and one player I really like is Tim Gettinger. While he is not a face puncher, he uses his 6 6 body to his advantage along the boards and wins puck battles. He can dish the puck and make smart plays. He also is not a stranger in his own end of the ice.

        So Brooksie again, we don’t need no stinking Matt Martin.

  • Agree…. we need his snarl, but not at the asking price…. one-dimensional player…There are players that can bang at play a little hockey and contribute offensively.

  • You can get the tough 4th liners and not break the bank. If that’s the asking price for Martin you have to pass. Maybe someone like Maroon. He’s a tough guy and can play the game.

    • “Maybe someone like Maroon. He’s a tough guy and can play the game.”

      Still pass on that.. Going at it like a cheap band-aid won’t be very effective in the long term. You need to develop heart and soul players within the draft/AHL affiliated teams. That is when you can start to add vets like Maroon. If you are going to construct a 4th line for a successful season and playoff run, than you do what Tampa did by trading for other’s like Coleman and Goodrow.

  • Martin won’t have Cizikas and Clutterbuck with him, so absolutely not.

    Here’s how to solve the problem: Give big money only to players who deserve it, have real hockey players on bottom 6 lines and 3rd pairs, and have the players go in front of the net, where the bulk of the goals are scored in the playoffs.

    We don’t need face punchers for “grit.” Just players who are willing to pay a price.

    • Still need some toughness… talk to me after someone runs LaFrenchise and Kreider just do stands there and does nothing…….. I know Kreider’s game isn’t fighting.. but dammit he is so strong he should smash someone to send a message
      when our players get pushed around….. so yes we do need to add Reaves type.

      • Kreider is a poor man’s JVR, he plays a closer to that kind of game. He doesn’t make D men pay the price with his body or stick work.

        The top 6 for sure needs a Timo Merier type.

      • Kreider tried sending a message one time (after Zib got crushed), and the coach killed him for it. Remember?

  • This team was Run every single night last year and in the playoffs. This team needs a legitimate tough guy. A Matt Martin , a Patrick Moroon would be Perfect. And we should also try for a Kyle Clifford who is only 29 years old

  • “Per CapFriendly, the Rangers next season have $7.2 million in potential performance bonuses. So while they have $14 million in cap space, they have to assume that if all performance goals are hit, they really only have $7 million in cap space.”

    I thought I’d post this from an article on the Forever Blueshirt today. When people get cavilare while dealing with buying out players, we never consider what bonuses are written in contracts for the players. Another reason to never if possible buyout players…………….EVER!!!!!!!!

    • As I posted on the Forever Blueshirts page:

      The $7.2 mill dollar POTENTIAL performance bonus number can be misleading. If Lafrenierre, Kravtsov and Miller all have $$ bonus attached for winning the Calder trophy —- they all CAN”T WIN the same award!

      • TommyG

        “Here are the players eligible and their max bonus money for next season:

        Igor Shesterkin can earn an additional $2.85M
        Kaapo Kakko can earn an additional $2.65M
        Adam Fox can earn an additional $850K
        Filip Chytil $350K
        Julien Gauthier $300K
        Ryan Lindgren $212K
        Obviously, not all that money will be hit but you have to keep that cushion in mind or the overage will hit your cap in 2021-22. Now that’s just what you see projected. What you haven’t accounted for yet is this….Alexis Lafreniere.”

        I guess you didn’t read far enough into the article……….I stand to my post, if possible, never buy out anyone, period!!!!!!!!!!!

        • FB is correct here, they do need to account for the bonuses. However it is a certainty they don’t need the full $7 million.

          The Rangers have capologists that look into this. They will ensure they have the proper space.

          However, it is worth noting that there can be cap overages for the 2021-2022 season, if they don’t have the room in 2020-2021.

  • This is probably going to be unpopular,but if you can get one of these 3 on a 1 year deal.
    Possibly have a 4th line of Barron,(Howden)lemeiux + 1 above.

    Martin will want way too much money for my taste.

    • Are we ready to contend for the up next year? If we are, then it’s time to fill in the bottom line and D with some physical players who can frustrate the other team’s offense and maybe score a few goals, as well. If we’re not, don’t waste the money on 1 year contracts.

      • joe from newburgh

        With all the kids who aren’t tough, we will need a policeman to protect them, so I disagree with your comment!!!!!!!!!

        We have no one to counter Reaves, Simmons, Martin, Wilson types, and I don’t feel comfortable letting Alexis, Kakko, Zib, or any of the other skilled players having a target on their backs….

  • I much prefer to have a player who can actually play the game and is also willing to drop the gloves if necessary, than someone whose only skill is brawling. I also want guys who will go to the net with authority and pay the price. That is how you win games, especially come playoff time against hot goal tenders, and how you protect your skilled players.

  • With the roster we will probably have for next year, look for us to out-speed many teams, but lose many games by a 5-4 score as the defense gets torched. IF we get into the playoffs, look for another short run without some tough guys. Speed does not win playoff games.

  • How about adding John Hayden (NJD) at league minimum? That adds size and grit with ability to add some offense. Any other similar guys? I would love Martin but that would really through our Cap into disarray.

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