Paul Martin will not be returning to the New jersey Devils as previously expected. He signed with fellow Atlantic Division rival, the Pittsburgh Penguins today. The Penguins offered him a five year, $25 million contract, and he snatched it right up.
Martin had spent his entire NHL career with New Jersey since breaking into the league in 2003. He was limited to only 22 games last season due to an injury he, ironically, suffered in a game against Pittsburgh. He did manage to be 10 in the +/- category in those 22 games. In six seasons in New Jersey he amassed 24 goals, 137 assists and led the Devils in ice time.
Like so many times in the past, I am saying so long to another Devil due to free agency. Will I miss Martin? Sure, a little bit. He is a good defenseman but he cant hit worth a damn and right now the Devils need someone with a physical presence to man the blue-line and limit the non-sense that goes on in front of Brodeur.
On the bright side, this frees up room for us to make more of a sizable offer to Kovalchuk, which is what we would need to do to keep him. However, I have been down this road with you before Lou, the first day of free agency comes and goes with nothing for us to show for it except for a roster with holes on it. Therefore, it is only a matter of time before someone else gets Kovy and we are left to pick up the free agent scraps as always.