The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed depth winger Matt Martin to a four-year deal worth $2.5 million AAV.

The Windsor native scored a career-high ten goals and 19 points in 80 games last season playing just 10:33 a game on average. He was a fan favourite on the Island as one third of the vaunted “E=MC2” fourth line alongside Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas. After Martin walked at noon today, the Islanders went out and replaced him with 37-year-old 20-goal scorer Jason Chimera on a two-year contract worth $225,000 less per season ($2.25 million AAV).

Martin can provide safe even-strength defensive minutes (he didn’t play a role on the Isles’ penalty kill) while bringing energy and a little secondary scoring. Martin’s 4.7 hits per game since the 2012-13 season lead the league ahead of second place, and now fellow Leaf, Leo Komarov’s 4.1. His 38 major penalties since 2012-13 stand sixth in the league.

Clearly the goal here is to make a young Leafs team tougher to play against through the addition a protective presence for the youth, but Martin isn’t exclusively a meat stick. Perhaps the Leafs have designs on moving Martin up their lineup to play with some of their younger skilled players on occasion; his very strong shot suppression numbers show he’s a capable defensive forward who can establish an effective presence on the forecheck (Ranked 72nd in CorsiRel% out of 588 players).

Screenshot 2016-07-01 15.07.21

The four-year term for a 27-year-old fourth liner with a career high of 19 points is going to be controversial. It will come as a disappointing development for some who had assumed current Leafs management subscribed to the notion that committing term to bottom-line players out of the free agency pool on July 1 is always reckless behaviour.  In the eyes of others, Matt Martin will become a fan favourite in short order.

Matt Martin’s CF% RELTM — Tops on NYI

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Matt Martin’s CA60 RELTM — 10th in the NHL

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Matt Martin Statistics

2005-06 Blenheim Blast GLJCHL40111223102|
2006-07 Sarnia Blast WOHL925716|
Sarnia Sting OHL39336524| Playoffs400000
2007-08 Sarnia Sting OHL662513381553| Playoffs9336162
2008-09 Sarnia Sting OHL613530651426| Playoffs530310-3
2009-10 New York Islanders NHL502226-1|
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL761219311130| Playoffs512340
2010-11 New York Islanders NHL685914147-13|
Bridgeport Sound Tigers AHL7123110|
2011-12 New York Islanders NHL807714121-17|
2012-13 New York Islanders NHL48471163-2| Playoffs6101140
2013-14 New York Islanders NHL79861490-11|
2014-15 New York Islanders NHL788614114-4| Playoffs7011121
2015-16 New York Islanders NHL80109191192| Playoffs1100012-1

GM Lou Lamoriello address the Matt Martin Signing:

Matt Martin speaks after joining Leafs: