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Edit: Drafted 63rd Overall by the Colorado Avalanche.
Its pretty rare to see a 17 year old be a starting goalie in the CHL, and its even rarer to see one who played as well as Spencer Martin. Martin led the Mississauga Steelheads to a playoff spot despite playing behind the second lowest scoring offensive team in the league. Its not like the Steelheads were an offensive juggernaut either, as there were many occassions where it was Martin standing tall behind a porous defence that would keep his team in the game. He was sensational at the start of the year, and had the Steelheads challenging for top spot in the East at the end of November. Martin would falter somewhat and have some rough stretches in the second half. He would even lose his starting job in the playoffs. Still Martin was likely the team MVP for the Steelheads this year and a big reason why they were able to secure the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Martin also played for Team Canada at the IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championships. He played in two games in the preliminary round winning them both, but was the backup goalie for the medal rounds. Still Martin returned from Sochi with a goald medal. Martin also played for Team Ontario at the 2012 Under 17 World Hockey Challenge, bringing home a Bronze.
Born Jun 8 1995 — Oakville, ONT
Height 6’2.5″ — Weight 191.6 lbs — Shoots Left — Catches Left
Martin is part of the new breed of taller goaltenders that NHL teams have started to fall in love with in recent years. He takes advantage of his size, and challenges shooters, by coming out of his net and playing his angles very well. Martin plays a solid butterfly style and uses his extremely strong and quick legs to take away the bottom of the net very effectively. Up top he has a quick glove hand, and is decent on the blocker side. His technique is very good for a young goalie. Martin has solid lateral movement, and tracks the puck well. He moves post to post quickly to take away cross ice opportunities. He also is decent at handling the puck and can help his defencemen by starting the breakout.
Like many young goalies, Martin can sometimes have an issue with rebound control, and he will need to focus on improving that aspect of his game going forward. More importantly though, he will need to work on his mental game. When things spiralled out of control in the second half, he had a hard time getting back in the groove. Martin needs to be able to get past things and recover when he lets in a bad goal, instead of allowing a 2nd or 3rd soft goal to get past him. This should come with more maturity though.
Martin’s style is reminiscent of the style of Ryan Miller. However, this is a stylistic comparison, and we don’t want to put an unfair comparison out there that Martin can be a future Vezina winner like Miller. He does have potential though, and with time could develop into a number one goalie in the NHL.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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