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Martinez to make Golden Knights debut after trade by Kings

Defenseman, acquired for two draft picks, will play against Lightning

by Mike Battaglino / NHL.com Staff Writer

Vegas acquires Martinez

Golden Knights acquire Martinez

The Vegas Golden Knights acquire Alec Martinez from the Los Angeles Kings for two draft picks

  • 01:07 •

Alec Martinez will make his debut for the Vegas Golden Knights against the Tampa Bay Lightning at T-Mobile Arena on Thursday (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, SN, ATTSN-RM, SUN, NHL.TV).

The defenseman was traded to the Golden Knights by the Los Angeles Kings for a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft on Wednesday.

"Obviously it's been a crazy 24, 48 hours," Martinez said Thursday. "I obviously had a good idea the past couple of months that something might happen, and then obviously once I was pulled out of the lineup last game against Winnipeg (on Tuesday). It's been kind of crazy. Obviously mixed emotions. I was in L.A. my entire career, a long time, 13 years since my first development camp. Obviously tough to say goodbye to certain people there, but if I had a spot to pick, it'd definitely be here, and I'm certainly excited to join this club."

 

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Vegas (31-22-8) has won three straight and is tied for second in the Pacific Division with the Vancouver Canucks, one point behind the Edmonton Oilers.

"Right there at the top of the heap," Martinez said of his new team. "The depth that we have here, you go all throughout the lineup. You've got everything. You've got high-powered offense, you've got defensive play, you've got good goaltending. Even offense within the defense and defense within the forwards. It's really an exciting team to come into. I just want to win games."

Martinez, who has one season remaining on a six-year contract, has eight points (one goal, seven assists) in 41 games this season. He was out from Nov. 27-Dec. 31 after sustaining a wrist injury and having subsequent surgery.

"I'm playing better hockey as of late, coming back from my injury. ... But kind of a weird [season], with the nature of my injury and not having gone through anything like that before," he said. "All I'm trying to do is play my best hockey right now."

Video: LAK@VGK: Martinez capitalizes on turnover

A two-time Stanley Cup winner (2012, 2014), Martinez scored the Cup-clinching goal in double overtime of Game 5 against the New York Rangers in 2014. He'll try to help the Golden Knights make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the third time in as many seasons since joining the NHL. Vegas is tied with the Edmonton Oilers for first place in the Pacific Division.

"Good player. He's going to make us better. He's been well-coached. He's won," coach Peter DeBoer said. "Talked to him a little bit about system stuff. [Kings coach] Todd [McLellan] does a lot of things similar to what we do as language and verbage and things like that, so I don't think it'll take him long to get him up to speed. Happy to have him. Excited to have another veteran presence back there."

Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb, who played with Martinez in Los Angeles, said, "He's a great player, ton of experience, Stanley Cups. Plays the right way, moves hard, very reliable defensively. It's a great pickup for us."

Los Angeles (21-34-5) is last in the Western Conference and will not make the Stanley Cup Playoffs for a second straight season. 

"Quality individual. First-class guy. Very mature, bright, smart, an incredible work ethic. Championship qualities," Kings coach Todd McLellan said of Martinez. "A guy where you can see why they've won here in the past, when you have those type of players are contributing on a daily basis. They had the pieces they needed to win. Everybody talks about [Anze] Kopitar, Doughty, [Marian] Gaborik and some of those guys from those championship teams, but Toffoli and Martinez played a huge role in it, and I can see it now."

The Kings on Monday traded forward Tyler Toffoli to the Vancouver Canucks for forward Tim Schaller, forward prospect Tyler Madden, a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Draft and a conditional pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. The NHL Trade Deadline is Feb. 24.

"We were having dinner together and he was sitting right next to me," Martinez said of Toffoli being told. "Obviously, we know the situation at hand. But anytime you have one of your best friends traded, that's disappointing. At the same time, he's got a good opportunity in Vancouver. They have a good team and they gave up a lot to get him. It's always good to go somewhere you're really wanted, in that regard. Disappointment, but I'm happy that he's going somewhere where someone wants him and he's in a good situation."

Selected by Los Angeles in the fourth round (No. 95) of the 2007 NHL Draft, Martinez has 198 points (62 goals, 136 assists) in 597 regular-season games and 16 points (six goals, 10 assists) in 64 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"He's a very good shot-blocker," Kings defenseman Drew Doughty said. "Good skater, gets his shots through from the point. A good little [wrist shot] on him. He can hammer one-timers, too, actually. Good defensively. The game's kind of going a different direction [with] offensive D-men, so [Alec's] a good two-way defenseman that's going to make any team better. He's a professional as well, and a good person."

NHL.com staff writer Tim Campbell and NHL.com Independent Correspondent Danny Webster contributed to this report

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