Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2017 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here.
A late 1998 birthday, Luke Martin missed the cut-off for the 2016 draft by just five days. As such the US NTDP graduate was ready to play in the NCAA this year, and did so for the Michigan Wolverines. Martin was generally solid, putting up one goal and seven points in 35 games.
He spent the previous two years playing for the US NTDP. Martin had 20 points in 63 games in 2015-16, as well as four points in seven games at the IIHF Under 18 World Championships. He helped the Americans come home with a bronze medal. In 2014-15 he helped the team to a silver at the Under 17 World Hockey Challenge.
His older brother Jimmy Martin played NCAA hockey for Yale, before playing a couple of years in the ECHL, and a season in the Slovakian Elite League.
Luke Martin Scouting Report: 2017 NHL Draft #53
Defense — shoots Right
Born September 20th, 1998 — St. Louis, Missouri
Height 6’2″ — Weight 201 lbs [188 cm / 91 kg]
Martin is a very good skater in both directions. He has a good first step, and good acceleration, allowing him to win races to loose pucks. Martin also has very good edge work and pivots. He transitions quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Martin also has very good lateral agility. A strong lower body gives Martin good balance, and helps him to be strong on the puck.
Martin is not known for his offensive game, but there are a few skills here. His future lies in playing shutdown defensive hockey, but he may be able to score a few points along the way. He uses his strong skating game to get the puck out of danger in his own zone, and to move the puck up the ice. Martin makes a good first pass in order to start the transition game. He also uses his lateral agility to shift and open up passing and shooting lanes.
Martin needs to work on his slap shot. He has good power, but could stand to be more accurate and keep it low to allow his teammates to get rebounds and tip-ins. Martin prefers to use his wrist shot, which is more effective. He gets it on net, while avoiding forwards trying to get to the point. His release is decent and the shot is accurate, but could use a bit more power. Martin is most effective when he sneaks down from the point and lets his shot go from just inside the face-off circle.
Martin’s defensive game is very good. His skating makes him very difficult to beat in one-on-one situations. He has very good positioning and gap control. Martin keeps himself between his man and the net, and forces attackers to the outside and to less dangerous areas of the ice. He uses his long stick to effectively cut down passing lanes and take away scoring opportunities. While Martin is not afraid to use his size and strength to clear the front of the net or to win battles in the corners, he is also not the type to throw big hits.
Projection and Comparison
Luke Martin is an effective player, who plays a simple game. He could develop into a top four defenceman, who is useful on the penalty kill. It is unlikely he will ever become a big threat on the power play or score a lot of points. Still, players like Martin are necessary in the NHL, and he can be effective. His style is similar to Brian DuMoulin of the Pittsburgh Penguins, though this is a style comparison and not a talent projection.
The following is a compilation of videos, assembled from Youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect available on our draft board.