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$5.25 Million For A 34-Year-Old Defenseman Is A Major Risk; Even One As Good As Alec Martinez

(Photo Credit: SinBin.vegas Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

After the regular season and playoffs he had with the Golden Knights in 2020-21, it seems almost unfathomable for Vegas to let Alec Martinez walk away for nothing.

In the playoffs, he was arguably the most consistent player on the roster, led the postseason in blocks despite playing fewer games than two other teams, was VGK’s most dangerous weapon on the power play, and averaged more than 22 minutes a night. Oh, and he did this all while playing on a broken foot that happened a few games before the playoffs even started.

A day after his 34th birthday, Martinez inked a three-year deal worth $15.75 million. That means he is now contractually tied, for $5.25 million per year, to the Golden Knights through 2023-24, when he will play the entire season at the age of 37-years-old.

Currently in the NHL, there are nine defensemen making at least $5 million over the age of 33. They are Brent Burns, Shea Weber, Kris Letang, Marc-Edouard Vlasic, Brent Seabrook, Mark Giordano, Johnny Boychuk, Ducan Keith, and Anton Stralman. Weber is reportedly out for the entirety of next season and his career is in jeopardy, Seabrook and Boychuk, and didn’t play a single game last year, and Vlasic, Stralman, and Keith were each shells of themselves, two of the three being moved in cap relief trades this offseason. Heck, even Giordano, who was good last year, was left unprotected in the Expansion Draft and was ultimately selected by the Seattle Kraken.

Simply put, it takes an ultra-rare specimen to succeed in the NHL as a defenseman at the age of 34, let alone 35, or 36, which the Golden Knights just committed to with Martinez.

Last year, Martinez posted some gaudy numbers in his 12th season in the NHL. He averaged 22:34 of ice time per game, scored nine goals and added 23 assists, blocked 162 shots, and added an amazing 7.2 point shares to a team that nearly won the President’s Trophy. Plus, he did it in a shortened 56-game season.

That was all at the age of 33. So, we wondered, how many d-men have met any of those criteria at the age of 34, 35, or 36 in the past decade (since 2010-11)? We head to the Stathead! Hockey-Reference.com’s incredible tool that allows us to easily look up stuff like this.

We’ll start with time on ice. Of course, last year was a truncated season in which Martinez played in 53 of the 56 games amassing 1196 minutes of ice time. Doing that math, that comes out to about 1600 minutes in a regular 82 game season. So, how many defensemen have reached this after the age of 34?

1600+ minutes
At least 34 – 55 of 272 (20.2%)
At least 35 – 38 of 194 (19.6%)
At least 36 –  22 of 130 (16.9%)

1000+ minutes
At least 34 – 166 of 272 (61.0%)
At least 35 – 116 of 194 (59.8%)
At least 36 –  73 of 130 (56.2%)

Martinez was an offensive weapon for the Golden Knights, especially on the power play where he chipped in six of PP goals. His total was 32 points in 53 games which projects to an impressive 47 points in 78 games over an 82 game season.

47 points
At least 34 – 12 of 272 (4.4%)
At least 35 – 7 of 194 (3.6%)
At least 36 –  4 of 130 (3.1%)

30 points
At least 34 – 41 of 272 (15.1%)
At least 35 – 27 of 194 (13.9%)
At least 36 –  19 of 130 (14.6%)

20 points
At least 34 – 86 of 272 (31.7%)
At least 35 – 63 of 194 (32.5%)
At least 36 –  42 of 130 (32.3%)

Moving on to blocks, which is Martinez’s calling card. Alec blocked an insane 168 shots in 53 games which rounds to 246 had he played 77 games of an 82 game season. In the past decade, not a single defenseman has ever done that after the age of 34. In fact, only three D at all in the past 10 years blocked that many shots in a season. Kris Russell blocked 283 in 14-15 for Calgary, Francois Beauchemin blocked 256 in 15-16 for Colorado, and Josh Gorges blocked 250 in 11-12 for Montreal.

So, let’s lower the number to a more reasonable, 200, which Martinez reached easily adding just the first seven playoff games.

200 blocks
At least 34 – 2 of 272 (0.7%)
At least 35 – 2 of 194 (1.0%)
At least 36 –  1 of 130 (0.8%)

100 blocks
At least 34 – 51 of 272 (18.6%)
At least 35 – 37 of 194 (19.1%)
At least 36 –  20 of 130 (15.4%)

On to the final number, and maybe the most impressive one Martinez amassed in 2020-21, his 7.2 point shares. Throw that in the calculator and had he played a full season he would have racked up 10.5 point shares, with about 60% coming on the defensive side of the game.

10.5 point shares
At least 34 – 4 of 272 (1.4%)
At least 35 – 2 of 194 (1.0%)
At least 36 –  1 of 130 (0.8%)

7.2 point shares
At least 34 – 23 of 272 (8.5%)
At least 35 – 15 of 194 (7.7%)
At least 36 –  12 of 130 (9.2%)

5.0 point shares
At least 34 – 61 of 272 (22.4%)
At least 35 – 46 of 194 (23.7%)
At least 36 –  31 of 130 (23.8%)

2.5 point shares
At least 34 – 153 of 272 (56.3%)
At least 35 – 112 of 194 (57.7%)
At least 36 –  74 of 130 (56.9%)

For those not familiar with point shares, last year Theodore led the team in the regular season with 8.2, Marchessault and Pietrangelo were at 5.4, and Tomas Nosek put up 2.1.

Add it all up, and in the past decade, not a single defenseman has had the season Alec Martinez just put up over the age of 34.

There are two ways to look at this, and it depends what kind of person you are. The optimistic says, “Alec Martinez is a legend and is doing things at age 33 that no one before him has done, why can’t he do it again at age 34, 35, or even 36.” Or, the pessimist says “what he just did was in the top 10 to 20 percent of all 34+-year-old defensemen, there’s no way he’s going to repeat it once he turns 34, let alone his older years.”

Personally, I have to say I lean a bit towards the second one. Don’t get me wrong, I love everything about the player the Golden Knights have gotten in Alec Martinez over the past season and half, but expecting him to continue playing at the level he has seems a bit outlandish as he heads into the final years of his career. Paying him at a cap value that expects him to keep up the performance is complete madness.

Losing Martinez would have hurt, a lot, but keeping him at the price the Golden Knights agreed to will probably hurt even more… unless Alec Martinez can defeat the undefeated Father Time.

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36 Comments

  1. Richard Santomauro

    On the face of it, a 3 year deal at >$5million is definitely a major risk. At 34, Marty’s value will only go down at the end of next year and the following one. If he can play at a high level for the next 3 years then great! I like the attitude he brings to the game. He also has a very high hockey IQ. Overall, I am happy with this despite the 3 years. Did he deserve it? Yes, I think so. But from a business perspective a two year deal at a bit more salary would have been a better deal for the team.

    It is what it is. The stats actually support retaining him, we all knew that they would.

    GRADE – A despite the fact that overall MCIDIOT gets an F for losing Fleury, keeping Lehner, losing Schuldt and not promoting Thompson. We got a bunch of no names that will provide nothing in terms of fixing the power play. We’re worse off in net minding (at least until Thompson comes up). Defensively we are about the same. No change really to the top 3 lines. And why the hell is Reaves still a Knight? I am just flabbergasted (good word huh?) that he remains on the roster.

    Also, nothing on the Reilly Smith contract at all. He’ll be an UFA next year and unless we free up enough cap space he’s gone with nothing in return.

    • THE hockey GOD

      you can’t have it both ways, pick one
      keeping no 23
      or keeping no 29 Marc Andre Billy Buckner (the real FACE of the Franchise ) ?

      • Marc Andre Fleury

        Billy Buckner, now that’s hilarious and oh so true.

      • Contact Tracer

        3 Stanley Cups, a Vezina Trophy, a boatload of bank, and unmatched class VS. The Hockey Turd with Billy Buckner 24/7/365 on the brain..

        Carry on blabbermouth … LOL.

        • THE hockey GOD

          didn’t bring it to VGK
          caps finals – lost
          san jose – semi’s lost
          habs = a JOKE

          time to move on and recognize the truth of the situation , he didn’t get the job done here. Had plenty of chances.

          Anyone with a BRAIN knows that .

          What is your excuse ?

      • Pretty harsh. Why so down on Fleury?? He put us on the hockey map. Made us a favorite with fans everywhere. Saved our season this year, when Lehner was out. WHY would you berate this great goalie, after all he has done for our team??

        • THE hockey GOD

          more of berating of idiot contract tracer for attacking me without provocation

  2. Edwin

    Worse at goalie (a lot worse), same on defense , same on offense, and over the cap again…

    Disaster off season…VGK will be SJS soon…irrelevant

  3. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Numbers, numbers, numbers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Marty played great and deserves what he got.

    Everything doesn’t have to fit nicely into some number matrix!

  4. mcart

    Fleury, at age 36, just had the best year of his career. a Vezina winner.

    of course, that did not get him any love from the number crunchers like McCrimmon.

    so, Marty, join the club. but, I’m sure that anybody in Henderson can do what you do every night in the NHL, right? of course they cannot.

    and it sure is interesting that we see nary a word about the ridiculous $5M per year contract of Dadonov, who has done NOTHING for the Knights. but the guys who actually produce for Vgk get carved up by local media for their contract.

  5. Ken – not sure you believe what you posted but if that is truly a concern the Petro deal at 37 and 8.8 mill a year must make you crazy. Marti ez was better than petro from the start and that hasn’t changed. Petro’s best years are way back in the rear view mirror. MAF at 7 mill at his age is worth much more than the walrus at 5 despite the age difference.. They had better alternatives to ensure keeping Martinez. They continue to create one problem after another and until they address the root cause of failure it won’t change

    • Contact Tracer

      If Martinez and Petro were put into the ring I’m pretty sure Petro would run to his corner crying for mommy and for good reason… Martinez is fearless, Petro? not so much ….

  6. knights fan in minny

    why is it a risk martini is a warrior with balls i thought you were leaving doc beat it

  7. knights fan in minny

    stormy is leaving that sucks good luck to her in the future

    • THE hockey GOD

      hard to keep people in Vegas, the shiny luster lasts about three days.

      then back to Malibu.

  8. Tim

    I bet anything that if Alex Martinez was Alex Smith or Brown, there would be no problem with giving him this contract. Just saying.

  9. Richard Santomauro

    I still cant belive all the prospects the Knights have traded away for older players. Trust me in a few years when we win nothing and the cupboard is bare fans will stop going to games once the losing begins.

  10. Tyler Durden

    Bye Revo

    • Contact Tracer

      “don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out”

  11. DOC (Go Knights Go)

    Told my wife a coupe days ago: “I think Revo is gone:.

    Writing was on the wall. I like Revo, so sorry to see him go, but understand the move.

    My question is: Where is any physicality going to come from for the Knights?

    The Turk got him back and will be interesting to see the “relationship” develop again between Revo and Wilson. Should be fun!

    Thanks Revo and good luck!

  12. A VGK Fan

    Ken just couldn’t help himself and had to post another Debbie downer of an article despite getting all his wishes come true (trading away MAF, getting rid of Reaves, etc).

    Can we trade Ken away? I’ll take 3 cents and a bologna sandwich in return. It would be considered overpayment for this bald goof.

    • THE hockey GOD

      both moves are very smart moves, the got cap space and they got a draft round pick.

    • Howard

      Meanwhile, you are commenting on Ken’s site, so what does that say about you? I like Ken, he’s a very sharp hockey guy and knows a lot more about hockey than most VGK fans. Ken answers people on twitter, and for the most part is a critical thinker (although he lost his poop over estimating VGK after playing even with Avs, but getting a bit more puck luck).

  13. THE hockey GOD

    thank GOD And now we don’t have to watch those stupid , violent, idiotic

    STOP WATERING ADS !!

    with kneeler in them.

    Should have been gone a long time ago.

    More dead weight being unloaded. And

    a tad more air in the CAP SPACE !!

    Clearly this was a move on part of GG. He doesn’t realize he’s getting damaged goods. He’s five steps slower, and not as mean as he used to be. Ranger fans must be howling now.

    And VGK pick up a must needed draft round pick, I think Rangers over paid for this one, as VGK only had five picks next time around.

    Ryan Reaves RW, New York Rangers
    Ryan Reaves
    The New York Rangers have acquired Ryan Reaves from Vegas in exchange for a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

    Reaves has spent parts of the past four years with the Golden Knights. He has compiled 18 goals, 40 points, 148 penalty minutes and 762 hits in 188 games over the last three seasons. The Rangers have been going after physical players this off season and Reaves certainly fits that type.

  14. LVsc

    goodbye. Now get rid of Dadonov too….I would rather see Krebs than that old fart

  15. trade

    Vgk now at $81.2.
    BUT that does not include Patrick or Coghlan, who are both RFA and yet to be signed

    iow, they still need to cut about $2 mill in cap space.

    • trade

      correction. they also have bonus overages of over 285k, so they are now at cap hit of $81.537m

      and, also, they have NO waiver exempt players this year to send down, unless Krebs or Thompson make it.

  16. Pretty harsh. Why so down on Fleury?? He put us on the hockey map. Made us a favorite with fans everywhere. Saved our season this year, when Lehner was out. WHY would you berate this great goalie, after all he has done for our team??

  17. knights fan in minny

    tuch out 6 months shoulder surgery ouch

  18. LVsc

    that does it. now Tuch out 6 months.

    bummer vgk summer

  19. Jake

    If the forwards can’t seem to score a goal (or any) in big playoff series, someone has to.

    Enter Alec Martinez

    I think you have to make the move to keep Alec.

  20. Julie

    Doesn’t Vegas still need a center? McKillmon said they are done making deals. Being so close to the cap again doesn’t seem they have addressed a huge problem from last year.

    • Julie – about the only positive thus far they re-signed Martinez. They will live to regret keeping the walrus over MAF despite what a few idiots on this site believe differently. Reaves gone a plus not sure how the New Yorkers are going to feel when Wilson cleans his clock. That’s their problem now!!!! All in all l would say they didn’t improve a thing and continue to create one problem after another. They ha e done nothing to correct t the root causes of their failure. How you summer is going well and all is good.

      • Julie

        Hey, HD! I have been reading that Lehner was posting on the 27th on Twitter saying “people” were attacking him in relation to the Fleury trade. While many gave him praise, there were several who asked who the people were or where were they posting the negative comments because they were not seeing it. One poster pointed out that maybe Lehner could let the focus be on Fleury that day since the news had just broke and save his posting of his troubles for another day. It was a good point. Lehner is making a habit of claiming things happen to him but no proof that they happened – i.e., the covid-19 accusations against the NHL that no team members backed up, the bit about his concussion saying he was attacked then about his mental health issues, and now this. The difference here is Fleury never complained publicly about anything. Lehner is and without proof of his claims. If he was as good a friend of Fleury’s as he claims, you would think he would post how wrong it was Fleury wasn’t called about the final deal. But no, he posted about himself in the same tweet where he says he respects Fleury. Just another uncool vibe in this VGK lot.

        Martinez, Tuch, etc., I hope they’ll do well. But the mojo around this trade stuff isn’t doing Vegas any favors.

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