The New York Rangers will be looking to add a veteran blue-liner to the lineup for next season. They want a legit defender that can play big minutes in a pinch and help this group get to the next level. A modicum of toughness is a must and the ability to be able to play both ends of the ice well. Having won a Stanley Cup or two would be a plus.
Enter unrestricted free agent defenseman, Alec Martinez.
Alec Martinez would be perfect on the Rangers
Vegas Golden Knights defenseman, Alec Martinez would be a perfect addition to this young Rangers blue-line. He is a proven winner. A fact the Blueshirts fanbase knows all too well after he ended the team’s Stanley Cup dreams in 2014.
I do not need to post a video or a picture of that moment. It is literally seared into the memories of every member of the Rangers Faithful. The nightmare vision of Martinez in joyous celebration as Henrik Lundqvist laid face-down in defeat on the ice. Forever engrained.
Well because of that, you could almost say that Martinez owes Rangers fans one.
He is a shot blocking machine
The left defender will be 34 years-old when free agency opens on July 28. This season he racked up 32 points in 53 games with a solid +26 rating in Vegas. He did so by averaging 22:34 minutes a game, that would be second to only Adam Fox’s 24:42 this past season.
Not only can the 6-1 and 209 lb blue-liner pick up points, he does something most other Ranger defensemen don’t. He block shots.
Martinez’ 168 blocks would lead the Rangers by a staggering amount. Let me frame it this way, he has 7 more blocks than the defense pairing of Jacob Trouba (84) and K’Andre Miller (77) combined. Martinez also has 16 more blocks than Fox (102) and Ryan Lindgren (52) as a unit.
He blocks a lot of shots.
Like I said, he would be perfect and maybe the most affordable option when you look at the field of UFAs. Martinez is coming off a 6 year-deal with an AAV of $4 million. The Rangers could likely get him on a two to three year deal for less.
Martinez checks all the boxes and Chris Drury needs to put him at the top of his free agent shopping list.
Would Rangers fans accept Alec Martinez?
So would the good folks of Rangerstown accept the man that put the final nail in the 2014 coffin? Initially, I would say absolutely not. Matter of fact, if he wasn’t met with a smattering of boos on opening night, I would be greatly disappointed.
However, as soon as the wins start piling up and he’s helping Nils Lundkvist find his way on the third pairing, I’d expect that to change. The term, what have you done for me lately applies to sports better than any other profession. If Martinez is helping the Rangers win, he would quickly be a fan favorite. That’s just how it works.
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