Another kid the Carolina Hurricanes will have to make a decision on next spring, Luke Martin could be looked at as the most questionable in the bunch. Martin was a second-round pick by the Ron Francis regime in 2017, and has been at Michigan for the past 3 seasons. Unfortunately, he hasn’t quite developed the way the team had envisioned.
His offensive game is almost non-existent, but his saving grace is that he’s a rock defensively. He plays as his 6’2, 220lb frame would suggest, a strong and physical presence in his own end. But as renowned scout Grant McCagg put it, Martin “dominated until he got to college because he was more physically mature, not more skilled”.
That analysis holds true to Martin, who has just 2 goals and 21 points in 103 college games. If he can make it to the NHL, it’ll be as a 3rd pairing, stay-at-home defenseman, potentially comparable to current Carolina Hurricane Joel Edmundson. Due to his lofty draft position, he’ll likely earn an entry-level deal, but Martin still has a lot to prove if he plans to be an NHL regular one day.
Their other defenseman at the college level, Domenick Fensore is on the opposite end of the spectrum. Unlike Martin, Fensore is a gifted offensive talent from the blue-line, and, unlike Martin, he isn’t physically imposing at 5’7, 150lbs. Obviously, the kid is a string bean, and with size like that red flags fly at his chances of being an NHLer.
But Fensore is an absolutely relentless hard worker, and his raw talents separate him from the pack. This is a kid who’s a dynamic skater, swift and explosive. He’s got phenomenal vision, and he can make all the passes you’d want from a powerplay quarterback. If he was even average size, this kid would be a top prospect in the NHL.
Understandably, his size sets a divide among NHL scouts, and Fensore will have a lot of doubters to prove wrong. His size will always limit him defensively, but he has all the tools to flourish as an offensively gifted defender in the NHL one day. For now, he’s starting his college career at Boston University, and is one of the funner Carolina Hurricanes prospects to track.