Making Sense of Matt Martin and Roman Polak Signings

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The signings of Matt Martin and Roman Polak have caused a stir among the Toronto Maple Leafs fan base. Some see them as good veteran leaders for the young players. Others see the signings as players who either got too much term or take a roster spot from one of the kids.

Making Sense of Matt Martin and Roman Polak Signings

Personally, the term that was given to him is something that is not ideal, but the signing of Martin should be seen in a positive light rather than a negative. Aside from Leo Komarov, the Maple Leafs lack players that bring that sandpaper element to the team. It will not surprise if both Martin and Komarov are among the league leaders in hits next season, with the former topping the hit charts in five straight campaigns.

Tougher to Play Against

Now rest assured that Martin and Komarov will make the Maple Leafs a tough team to play against. They will get under their opponent’s skin which again is something the Leafs lacked last season, especially the last quarter of the season when all the kids were called up. This will allow the young forwards up front more room and confidence to show Mike Babcock and Co. what they can bring now and in the near future.

Furthermore, Martin isn’t the typical goon as he can contribute when on the ice. By signing him, he will make sure that no one takes runs at the kids without being a liability on the ice. His $2.5 million cap hit is a reasonable price for what the Maple Leafs are paying him to do.

Bringing Back Polak

The next free-agent signing that the Maple Leafs made was bringing back a familiar face in Roman Polak. This is understandable since they want another veteran voice on the blue line. However, there are some who are not big fans of them bringing back the big defenceman.

Nevertheless, it’s a one-year deal, so they aren’t tied long-term to him, plus he’s coming off of a Stanley Cup Final appearance with the Sharks. Some argue that he will take a spot for one of the young defenceman on the Toronto Marlies. This is an invalid statement, to an extent.

Youthful Depth

If one of the defenceman on the Toronto Marlies is good enough to be on the Maple Leafs then he will be on the team, at least we should hope. Also, if players such as Martin Marincin, Connor Carrick, Rinat Valiev, Frank Corrado, or Viktor Loov can’t beat out Roman Polak then they should not start the season with the team.

However, it can be seen as a vote of confidence that in order to make the team they have to outplay the grizzled veteran. We can all agree that if all things are equal, two of these young players will be on the team. This would limit Polak’s ice time, which would be nothing new as he played a bottom pairing role with San Jose. Plus, the team can trade him at the deadline again for draft picks to a team looking for a veteran presence who hits on the blueline going into the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

With that said, management should let the young players compete against each other for the open spots on the blue line. It’s time to see what some of these young guys have.

This might be the first time under the Brendan Shanahan regime that some fans might have raised eyebrows and questioned their decisions. They have earned the benefit of the doubt and most, if not all Maple Leaf fans should give them that.

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