Sometimes loyalty means more than the dollar amount in sports. It doesn’t occur often in today’s landscape, but when it does you know it’s meant for a specific purpose.
Thats the case with Matt Martin and what he means to the Islanders.
Martin is now basically an Islander for life after yesterday’s news that he and the organization came to terms on a four-year contract that will keep him in blue and orange till age 36.
The deal was first reported by Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman in his weekly 31 Thoughts and than later confirmed by The Athletic’s Arthur Staple and The New York Post’s Larry Brooks. The theme behind the deal goes back to the affinity the Isles have for Martin and vice versa.
And while many aren’t to keen on how long the deal goes, it’s hard to argue against why he was brought back.
Martin is the modern day Bobby Nystrom to this generation of Islanders fans. You can’t say that about many of the players that have called Long Island home in the post-dynasty era.
He’s the heart and soul of the franchise; it’s been that way since he first joined the team over a decade ago. He’s a folk hero and been dubbed the “Mayor of Long Island” for how beloved he is around these parts and the work he’s done in the community. More importantly, he’s the standard for the culture that has been helped restored in the franchise as a part of the club’s “Identity Line”, aka the fourth line.
Matt has a lot of the intangibles,” head coach Barry Trotz told reporters yesterday. “The type of player that he is, everyone is well aware of that. He’s a good piece of the culture on the Island.”
In those playoffs Trotz was referring to, Martin accounted for five goals in the Isles’ run to the Eastern Conference finals. Every one of them bigger than the last. But the goals are just the tip of the iceberg. Martin was one of the best players for the team in the postseason period.
“I think you saw in the playoffs how valuable Matt is on our team, from a standpoint of bringing the physical attributes. He’s just a good, reliable pro,” added Trotz.
Martin could have easily cashed in this offseason as a free agent after his big playoff according to his father-in-law Boomer Esiason. Esiason noted that Martin had three or four other clubs who came hard after his services were offering more money than he is receiving from the Isles, $6 million. But with how much the Islanders value him and how much he loves his teammates and wearing the blue and orange, he took less.
Another example of how his loyalty to the Islanders knows no bounds, a quality that is highly-treasured by general manager Lou Lamoriello.
By the time his new deal ends, Martin will have played just a shade under 15 years with the Islanders. The last player to do that has his banner hung in the rafters: Bryan Trottier. Martin probably won’t receive the same honor, but he will most likely be recognized in some way by the franchise. Personally an award in his name would be excellent.
He deserves it for how he’s represented the Islanders throughout his career.
There’s always players that come along who you want to see be with one team for their entire career. Matt Martin is definitely one of them (even with his two-year stint in Toronto).
He is now an Islander for the rest of his career, and that’s exactly how it needs to be.
The Islanders are finally getting some much-deserved spotlight. Last week it was reported they’d only be featured twice on national TV this year.
Well how about seven time now?
MSG’s Eric Hornick tweeted the Isles will be seen an additional five games all over the country. Great stuff.
I expect that most of these are exclusive to NBC
— Eric Hornick (@ehornick) January 6, 2021