Corroborating a Sportsnet report yesterday that Paul Martin’s agent requested a trade, San Jose beat writers today confirmed the news. Curtis Pashelka of the Bay Area News Group provided confirmation via a series of tweets following this afternoon’s practice.
Sharks GM Doug Wilson said he is working with Paul Martin and his agent to explore trade options -- at the reguest of the agent, Ben Hankinson— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 14, 2018
Martin feels he can still play and contribute to an NHL team, but the solid play of Joakim Ryan, Tim Heed, and Dylan DeMelo have made it all but impossible that Martin suits up again in teal.
Martin seemed understandably resigned to the fact he won’t be suiting up for the Sharks any time soon, lamenting how “it sucks, but... you gotta do something.”
Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson offered a bit more perspective on the situation:
Paul Martin's agent, Ben Hankinson: "It's kind of a tough one for him because he knows he can play & he wants to play with the Sharks. Right now, there isn't a spot for him. That's his 1st choice but obviously the goal is to play somewhere and help a team win in the NHL." (1/2)— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 14, 2018
Hankinson (2/2). "Now we're going down that path and trying to find a team. Paulie wants to play and he'd love to win. Kind of walking down that pathway now to see where he could be a fit." #SJSharks— Curtis Pashelka (@CurtisPashelka) January 14, 2018
Martin played in the team’s first two games this season, before Doug Wilson placed him on long term injured reserve (LTIR), eventually returning to the Sharks for one game on December 7th. His returned was immediately followed by a conditioning trip to the AHL. Since finishing his conditioning assignment, a healthy Paul Martin has watched every Sharks game from the press box.
Steven Burtch, a member of the hockey analytics community online tweeted a snapshot of Martin’s performance over the past four years, noting that the decline has been apparent. The image in the following tweet shows how the Sharks perform at 5v5 with Martin on the ice relative to the teammates he plays with. His expected goals for percentage, as well as expected goals for and against per 60, have all been steadily moving in the wrong direction. One should note, however, that the massive disparity between last year and this year’s numbers is partly due to the fact Martin only played two games this season, making the sample size of information available too small to draw any conclusions. He was not off to a good start this year.
Paul Martin has rapidly declined to arguably be a sub NHL defender over the past 4 yrs.— Stephen Burtch (@SteveBurtch) January 14, 2018
Note this year's data is in under 59 mins of TOI at 5v5 (all score adjusted) pic.twitter.com/aVnRSKjNXF
In somewhat related news, San Jose activated Dylan DeMelo from IR and sent Marcus Sorensen to the Barracuda. DeMelo has formed fairly effective third pairings with a few Sharks’ defensemen. It’s understandable that the coaching staff has given him a longer leash this season.
The Brenden Dillon - Dylan DeMelo, Joakim Ryan - DeMelo, and Tim Heed - DeMelo pairings have done a better job limiting unblocked shots against than the Ryan - Heed pairing. The Dillon - DeMelo pairing offers nothing offensively, so it’s easy to see why the team moved on from that pair after just a few games.
Despite scoring three goals during his 15-game NHL season, Sorensen regressed mightily from last season in on-ice play-driving departments.
With Sorensen on the ice at 5v5 this season, the team takes far fewer unblocked shots and allows more unblocked shots per 60 minutes compared to his play last year.
This year, Sorensen has not helped drive expected goal differentials, either.
With Sorensen and O’Regan both sent down, the Sharks will rotate in more veterans. The good news is that with DeMelo activated off IR, the Sharks now have a fully healthy roster.