Kings Player Grades, Crowned Royal Style: Alec Martinez
In this series, we will post a new grade daily for each player that suited up for the Kings in 2010-2011. Since no one here is a credited teacher or NHL scout, we will rate players in the way we are most qualified: by comparing them to the alcoholic beverage that best represents their play on the ice.
Your Los Angeles Kings: leading cause of alcoholism among Southern California hockey fans since 1967.
Alec Martinez – Ku Soju
Though Soju, a beverage similar to vodka, has been around for almost 1000 years, but it is fairly new to us in California. It has a crisp, clean taste and mostly free of hangover inducing impurities. For some reason, however, I’m still somewhat on the fence on this beverage, which is slightly odd, because I like vodka and love sake.
Alec Martinez planted his feet firmly into the 6th defenseman role this season for the Los Angeles Kings, and at just 23 years of age, may be hard pressed to supplant in the fall.
Martinez exhibits a graceful skating style, impressive puck-handling/moving abilities, and is terrific and getting pucks to the net from the blue line. He filled a glaring void on the Kings 2nd power play unit which was at times better than the first, though at times, so was a 24 hour case of dysentery. He is doesn’t play an intimidating style of defense, but is solid positionally and responsible even while jumping into the play offensively.
These are all very good things for a young defenseman, and based on all of this I feel as though I should be in love with Alec Martinez. But for some reason, I’m still hoping that someone else either takes his spot or somehow surpasses him on the depth chart next season.
Maybe it’s that some of the prospects who may be able to do so are have done impressive things or come highly touted and I’m optimistic to see what they can do at the NHL level for the Kings. Maybe it’s just that the idea of the defensive roster being set before the season starts is like knowing what you’re getting for Christmas in August. Maybe it’s that the name Alec Martinez doesn’t scream Norris Trophy winner (I’m not racist).
But inexplicably, the thought of Alec Martinez holding a spot on the Kings’ defensive roster for years to come just doesn’t seem that exciting. As stated above, there isn’t much to dislike about his game.
The only explanation I can come up with is this:
The Kings have stepped out of rebuilding mode, but are still in a transitional period for the roster. Management will be faced with decisions this summer about which players will supplement the core to move forward with.
Some of the older players will be moving on, making way for some high draft picks to take their place and hopefully shine at the NHL level. The five other defenseman that dress regularly for the Kings have set roles and job security, so Martinez is simply sitting on the hot seat by default.
But if Martinez were to play as the Kings 6th defenseman for many years to come, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. There are certainly other more dire problems for the organization to solve.
Pass the bottle, I guess I’ll have another.