The St. Louis Blues’ offseason is going to be a wild one, as they have massive pending free agents and big trades to make. They believe their Stanley Cup window remains open and are looking to be aggressive — let’s see if they can do so with moves in free agency.
The defensive unit has seen big changes since their 2019 Cup run, as these names have departed since then — Alex Pietrangelo, Jay Bouwmeester, Carl Gunnarsson, and Joel Edmundson. They desperately need to find an identity on the back end, and Alec Martinez is a perfect fit for them.
What Does Martinez Offer?
If you want an experienced, good player with Cup pedigree, it’s Martinez. He’s played 763 games across the regular season and playoffs over the last 13 seasons.
He had a couple of rough seasons with the Los Angeles Kings before being traded, but he has been terrific with the Vegas Golden Knights in the last season and a half. You can say that it is the product of being on a top team, but I would argue it is a combination of both. With the need for an identity, Martinez brings something that can really help this team — he can play with any of the current core players in the defensive unit. I think he would be a terrific partner with Colton Parayko and he could even help revitalize the 2019 version of Parayko.
Is Martinez a Good Fit for the Blues?
He fits perfectly with his experience and ability to play with anybody. The Blues need that versatile defenseman, and he brings that and more to the table.
What Will the Contract Look Like?
The last contract that Martinez played on was signed with the Kings. It was for six years and worth $24 million overall, carrying a $4 million cap hit. His numbers haven’t been ideal since signing that contract, but his recent play with Vegas will likely fetch him a solid deal on the open market.
The Blues should look into a deal where they give Martinez two or four years, with a cap hit near the previous range of $4 million — I would say anywhere from $3.75 million to $4.75 million for this contract. That is a solid cap hit for a solid defenseman. He could likely get a bigger deal elsewhere, but the Blues must be smart with their cap space.
Where Would Martinez Play?
As I mentioned earlier in this piece, he could be the player that helps to revitalize Parayko. I see a scenario where he plays with either Parayko or Justin Faulk. Either way, the pairing would work. When a team has a player like Martinez, he can play with anybody and he will more than likely make it work. I don’t see how Marco Scandella or Vince Dunn aren’t gone if they are able to sign Martinez — one of them would be out the door for sure.
Should the Blues Sign Martinez?
This is my true No. 1 offseason target for the Blues. I think he makes so much sense for this team. He’s an experienced defender that can help bring some of their 2019 swag back, and while it won’t be the same, this could go a long way in re-shaping the defense.
The Blues absolutely need a boost defensively and Martinez helps bring that and the cap hit should be reasonable. I don’t think the team would enter a serious bidding war for him, but I don’t expect there to be a large one here. If they can get him at a cap hit that isn’t absurd, this should be a move that the Blues make.
If you want to question his commitment to the sport of hockey or his team, just look at the fact that he played the 2021 Playoffs for Vegas on a broken foot. So, I think he’s the type of guy you want on your team.
The Verdict: Martinez Ships Up To Boston
As much as I’d love to see the Blues sign Martinez, I believe their priorities will be elsewhere. They’ve signed three different defensemen to multi-year contracts over the last couple of seasons. The Boston Bruins are a team that needs defensive help around the likes of Charlie McAvoy, Matt Grezlyck, and others. They also have a lot of cap flexibility, so I see this as a great fit for them and a missed opportunity for the Blues if it happens.
This offseason could be the most important in Blues history in quite some time — a lot is on the line after back-to-back first-round exits.