Matt Martin joined TSN Overdrive to discuss his decision to sign in Toronto on a new four-year contract on Friday.


What do you think will happen with the hair once you get up to Toronto?

Matt Martin: It was one of my first questions. Sounds like it’s not going to be able to stick. It’s go to go apparently. That’s how it is. Like I said, I’m excited to join a prestigious organization, so if the hair’s got to go, it’s go to go. That’s the way it is.

Why were the Maple Leafs the right fit for you?

Martin: For a few reasons. Honestly, it took a while. I don’t want to say I was stalling all day, but it was a hard decision for me. I narrowed it down to two teams, two great franchises. It was a decision that wasn’t easy to make, but at the end of the day I think the Maple Leafs are obviously an original six team, a very prestigious franchise with a great fan base.

I think they have the management and the coaching staff in place to do great things. Babcock has been around for a long time. You see the way he gets the best out of his players. As an athlete, you always want that room to grow as a player and expand your game. I think he gives me a good opportunity to do that.

Like I said, it was a hard decision but I couldn’t be more happy with where I ended up and to be a Maple Leaf.

In year’s past, players have signed here and there’s this different pressure to be something that they’re not. How important is it to you to just come here and do your job, play your game, know your role and just do what you do to be successful?

Martin: I think that’s a very important thing, being yourself. The reason why they called is because of the way I played last year and over the course of my career. They’ve been watching. To come and try to be something you’re not isn’t a good way to do things. I want to continue to be a physical player, I want to continue to stand up for my players when needed and bring those traits I’ve brought throughout my career.

At the same time, like I said, you want to expand as a player. You want to do whatever you can to – I don’t want to say move up in the lineup – be a more effective player all over the ice; offensively, defensively, whatever you can do to be better. A growing team like the Leafs, with a lot of young talent and good management and coaching staff, gives me an opportunity to expand and excel not only in my role but continue to grow as a player.

You were just talking about your role. You guys were outstanding on the fourth line for the New York Islanders. We had Dave Poulin in here during the last hour, and he was talking about your upside. You’re a guy who can play in a lot of different roles and push further up into the lineup. Is this somewhere where you look at the roster and think you’ve got an opportunity to maybe maximize your potential under coach Mike Babcock?

Martin: Absolutely. Like I said, that was one of the biggest selling points for me – the opportunity. As athletes we are always looking to get better and are always looking for a bigger role. With the amount of young talent that the Maple Leafs have, it’s hard to look past that. I also don’t think they have a player like me on their roster who can bring that physical element and be a presence on the ice. I think, in years past, you see the way a player like Justin Abdelkader and a player like Leo Komarov’s games have excelled under Mike Babcock. I don’t think that’s by accident. You get the right mixture of players and you can be a winning team. At the end of the day, that’s the most important thing – you want to be a winning team and you want to one day hoist the Stanley Cup. I think the Maple Leafs have a very bright, promising future, and hopefully I can be a part of that.


Analysis of the Matt Martin Signing:


GM Lou Lamoriello addresses the Matt Martin Signing: