The talent swing from the Sharks' last No. 7 to its incoming No. 7 couldn't be much more drastic. The less said about Brad Stuart's time with San Jose, the better. Paul Martin marks the tenth Sharks to don lucky seven, and he just might be the best.
If they gave out an award for skating around like a giant, awkward monster I assume that Martin would be a front-runner every year. He's not the most aesthetically pleasing player in the world, but his HERO chart (embedded below) is one of the damn sexiest things I've seen in a while.
Martin isn't the offensive dynamo that Brent Burns (okay, nobody is), which might make him the perfect partner for the Wookie. The Neutral (RIP) already discussed Martin's experience as a security blanket for an offense-first defenseman in Kris Letang, so I won't repeat what he's already said. Needless to say, giving Burns a talented partner who can clean up his messes is great for the Sharks.
While Martin isn't going to score double-digit goals next year (probably), he does typically play tough minutes against tough competition. Martin isn't flashy, but he's effective. His possession numbers are stellar (as highlighted by the chart embedded above) and he's shown a real penchant for shot suppression over his career.
Martin played in 297 regular season games in Pittsburgh, about 78 percent of the total regular season games played during his time with the Pens. He played just 39 games in the 2013-14 season, thanks in part to suffering a hand injury in the 2014 Winter Olympics. Staying healthy in Pittsburgh is about as difficult as escaping a week at Disneyland without a runny nose, so hopefully he'll be a healthier Martin than the last one the Sharks had.
He acquired a reputation as a hard worker while in Pittsburgh, rallying his way into the hearts of Pens' fans (who can learn to hate just about anybody if they put their minds to it) after a less-than-spectacular opening season (which has been pointed out was entirely narrative driven). Being able to bounce back from bitter disappointment is a skill Martin will have plenty of opportunity to use in San Jose.
Having the luxury of putting him on the second line with Burns gives the Sharks something they've been sorely lacking defensively: depth. With Marc-Edouard Vlasic and (maybe) Justin Braun on the top line, Burns and Martin will get to feast on opponent's second pairings.
So that's the important stuff, or the stuff that will help the Sharks win hockey games. Best case scenario: Martin is a responsible dad to Burns, and the Wookie scores buckets of goals while not hurting the team because he doesn't actually know how to play defense. And that's just the on-ice version of Martin! He's also a writer (sort of), a comedian and he's really good at chewing gum.
You'll have to customize it yourself, but we know he'd really appreciate if you got ahead of the game and purchased his jersey. Come on, it's the least you can do now that your Antti Niemi jersey is gathering dust.