GLENDALE – Coyotes forwards Max Domi and Anthony Duclair are turning heads around the NHL by piling up goals and assists in their first full seasons in the League. They rank second and 10th in points among NHL rookies with 13 and eight, respectively.
Forward Jordan Martinook is making an impact as a rookie, too.
“From his first ice session in training camp, Jordan his willed his way onto our roster,” General Manager Don Maloney said. “He plays every shift as if it’s his last and the results speak for themselves. His skating, strength on his skates and second-effort approach have been needed and welcomed. As much as Max Domi and Anthony Duclair have excelled in offensive areas, Jordan’s two-way game has been equally impressive.”
Martinook does many of the little things that help teams win that casual hockey observers often don’t notice. He hustles in all zones and makes plays happen by recognizing/executing the finer details of the game. On Tuesday night at the Staples Center, for instance, he set up Brad Richardson’s game-winning goal with relentless forechecking and a savvy backhanded pass from the right corner.
“It’s going pretty good,” Martinook said of his first month in the NHL. “I’m here playing hockey in the best league in the world. I can’t ask for much more. I’ve had a couple days where I had to pinch myself just to make sure it’s real.”
Martinook, 23, has notched two goals and two assists while averaging nearly 15 minutes of ice time per game. He also has 10 hits, five blocked shots and five takeaways, and has won 6 of 9 face-offs. In addition, he has quickly become one of the team’s most reliable penalty killers; only Boyd Gordon has logged more PK ice time among the team’s forwards.
“Being trusted (by Head Coach Dave Tippett) is something I’m very happy about,” Martinook said. “I played a lot last year in the minors so I’m kind of used to being on the ice in a lot of situations. It’s good to be out there this much with this team.”
The Coyotes selected Martinook in the second round of the 2012 NHL Draft with the 58th overall pick. Before this season, he spent the past three seasons honing his skills in the American Hockey League. He is set to play in his 15th game of the year on Thursday when the Coyotes host the Edmonton Oilers. It will be his 23rd NHL game overall and yet he’ll likely be anxious just before it begins.
“I still get a little nervous for games but I like having a little fire in my belly,” Martinook said. “It’s been great. As the games have gone on, and I’ve been playing more and more, I’m getting a little more confident and it’s starting to show.”