The New Jersey Devils have a plethora of goaltenders available in the system including Scott Wedgewood, Keith Kinkaid, Maxime Clermont and Jeff Frazee. Frazee is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 5, but Lou Lamoriello has already expressed interest in resigning the goaltender. While there are many options available in the system already, none have proven to be the definite next Devil goaltender after Brodeur retires, so it is important to take a look at a few possible goalies in the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft. Today we will take a look at Spencer Martin as a possible 39th overall pick for the Devils in the second round.
Who is Spencer Martin?
Martin is a big guy, coming in at 6'2" and 198 pounds. In 46 games last season, Martin had a 3.02 goals against average and a .906 save percentage. Some of his main strengths are his agility and reflexes along with his fast lateral movements and ability to challenge shooters. He plays well on angles and has strong positioning. On the other end, his biggest weakness is his rebound control. He also needs to work on using his size to his advantage, as he seems to crouch lower than necessary. He also has a tendency to stay down too long.
As the fifth ranked North American goalie, Spencer Martin has made a name for himself in the OHL as one of the few 17-year-old starting goaltenders. As the starting goalie for the Mississauga Steelheads, the second lowest-scoring team in the OHL, he played a major role in getting the team to the playoffs. The Steelheads were known for many defensive breakdowns and allowing prime scoring chances, forcing Martin to make many quality saves.
Martin plays with a butterfly style, but he also has a quickness that allows him to make plays other goalies cannot. After a season behind a Steelheads team that left him out to dry quite often, he has a long list of highlight-reel saves. He grew up watching goalies such as Ryan Miller and Curtis Joseph but there doesn't seem to be one goalie to compare his game to. He told Neate Sager of Buzzing the Net,
"I watch a lot of Miller. But the best thing you can do is grab a lot from everybody who has made it to that level and try to add that into your game ... they've all figured out something that works for them. It's all about finding something that works for you. Not everybody can play like Tim Thomas or Martin Brodeur [whose styles are extremely contrasting]. But there's certain things like not quitting on rebounds that they do that you can take from like a Henrik Lundqvist game and try to put that in your game."
What experts are saying about Spencer Martin:
There is a lot of respect for Martin around the NHL because of his leadership role with Mississauga. Kyle Woodlief of USA Today said,
"The goalie has been carrying a mediocre Mississauga club on his back. Never beaten by first shots, it takes at least two to three good chances to get one by him."
Sean Lafortune of McKeen's Hockey has some great insight to the ups and downs to Martin's game:
"A tall, butterfly-style goaltender with excellent agility and flexibility.. generally speaking, receives inadequate support from his blueline crew, yet frustrate shooters by routinely making highlight-reel saves - that he makes look easy due to his sharp reflexes and quick lateral movement...focuses on keeping his body square to the puck... demonstrates good fluidity and excellent push-off strength...will need to work on his mental toughness moving forward - as well as rebound management, as he kicks out some juicy ones straight back out, especially when moving laterally."
Head coach of the Steelheads James Boyd loves having Martin in net night after night,
"He's such a competitive guy; he wants to be his best every night... He's an all-around tremendous athlete. He's big and he's quick as a cat."
Here is some video showing highlights of what Spencer Martin has to offer:
It is tough to tell if a 17-year-old will develop to be a starting goaltender in the NHL, but I think Spencer Martin has a lot of potential to succeed. He has a lot of great tools from his size to his agility and as he develops he can work on his rebound control and other issues with his game.
He will most likely be available when the Devils announce their 39th pick in the draft as he is expected to go in the mid to late second round. With that said, I don't think the Devils will pick a goalie in the second round. While I see a lot of potential in his game, I think the Devils are set with goaltenders, for now. I believe the next goalie of the Devils could very well be in the system already in having Wedgewood, Kinkaid, Clermont and most likely Frazee locked up for now. Even if the Devils go with a strong forward prospect in the first round, I still think there are other needs greater than a goaltender in New Jersey at the moment.
What are your thoughts on Spencer Martin? Do you think he would be a good fit for the Devils? Do you think the team should be looking at a goaltender with their second round pick? Feel free to discuss your thoughts on Martin in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!