The last week of training camp for the Carolina Hurricanes has begun and the preparation for the season is coming to an end. Jordan Martinook could be finishing his final training camp in Raleigh with free agency looming at season’s end.
This will be the sixth season in Carolina for the former second-round pick of the then-Phoenix Coyotes. Approaching 600 NHL games played this season, 312 of them have been played in red, white, and black.
A “glue” player for this Canes group, Martinook grinds out every shift and is a maximum-effort player. This does not mean he cannot contribute offensively, as he had a career-high 34 points last season.
The strength he provides on his own end and in the locker room cannot be measured by statistics and that is partially the reason he dons the “A” on his sweater.
The 31-year-old forward continues to excel under Rod Brind’Amour while averaging 15:38 minutes of ice time a night. These are hard minutes and crucial moments of the game, whether it be defending a lead or keeping the deficit at a minimum.
In the salary cap era, it is extremely difficult to keep all of the assets on your roster while adding to a championship-caliber squad. The $1.8 million salary is not large for the veteran but will be tough to improve upon this summer, especially if Martinook has another strong season.
The list of unrestricted and restricted free agents this offseason is large and includes some extremely important players like Martin Necas, Teuvo Teravainen, Stefan Noesen, Seth Jarvis, and Jack Drury. Those are just the forwards! On defense, the Brady Skjei and Brett Pesce pairing is up for a new contract, and Jalen Chatfield is.
The Brandon, Manitoba native has a lot more hockey left in the tank and arguably his best hockey as a pro. This combined with the fact Don Waddell will have to retain many players this summer means that we could be watching the last of number 48 in a Canes uniform.
As sad as that may be for many Caniacs, this further proves how the Hurricanes are really going for the Stanley Cup this season and just how small the window is to win with all the right pieces.