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2015-16 Sharks Season in Review: Paul Martin

San Jose’s other big July acquisition proved to be just what the Sharks needed on the blueline.

NHL: Stanley Cup Final-Pittsburgh Penguins at San Jose Sharks Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Like fellow July signing Joel Ward, Paul Martin came to San Jose just as advertised. Martin was a calming presence alongside Brent Burns, serving as Han Solo to the Sharks’ Chewbacca while the Wookiee played at a Norris-finalist level. He proved to be a steadying presence for the rest of the blueline as well. With Martin in tow, Brendan Dillon was able to slide into a more ideal role on the Sharks’ third pairing.

Despite turning 35 towards the end of the regular season, Martin played in 78 games, the most he’s played in a regular season in five years. That may have had to do something with ice time, as he played his lowest minutes per game since his rookie year in 2003-04.

Martin’s no longer the same offensive player he was in New Jersey and Pittsburgh, as his 20 points in 78 games was the lowest per game offensive output of his career. But, his defensive game remained sharp, rounding at the Sharks’ top 4 defensive group, and filling one of the biggest holes in the team from the previous season.

Moving forward, the Sharks have to be at least a little concerned with Martin’s game declining due to age. Martin’s possession numbers were the third-lowest of his career, but remained within a single percentage point of the rest of the team in both Corsi and Fenwick.

He’s not the same defenseman he was at his peak, but if Martin can maintain this level of performance, he’ll be a solid top 4 option for the duration of his contract.

2015-16 Sharks 5v5 Forward Usage Chart (via Corsica Hockey):

Term definitions:

ZSR: Zone Start Ratio; The percentage of non-neutral zone starts that are offensive zone starts (OZS/(OZS + DZS))

TOI.QoT: Time On Ice Quality of Teammates; The weighted average TOI% of a player’s teammates

Rel.CF%: Individual corsi-for percentage subtracted by the team’s overall corsi-for percentage.

Paul Martin Hero Chart (via Own The Puck):

The Highlight

Paul Martin only scored three times this season, two of which came on the power play. His second power play goal was his final goal of the year, and his best.