The Greenville Swamp Rabbits have announced that they’ve signed defenseman Luke Martin for the 2020-21 ECHL season.
Luke Martin Scouting Report
Drafted: Carolina Hurricanes, 52nd overall in 2017
Age: 21, turning 22 on September 20th
Weight: 218 lbs
2019-20: University of Michigan of the NCAA (Big Ten), 36 games, 1 goal, 8 assists, 18 PIM, 10
Even though Luke Martin was one of the oldest players in his draft class, he’s one of the younger NCAA FAs this season. Martin played his draft year in the NCAA with the Michigan Wolverines, impressing enough for NHL Central Scouting to rank him 61st among NA Skaters, and enough that Carolina picked him 52nd overall.
Martin is a surprisingly good skater, especially considering his frame. His biggest asset is how solid he is defensively, using his size and skill effectively. His skating and size make him a difficult player to play against and a challenge to get past.
His offensive game can only be described as “meh”. Martin’s an average passer, he’s able to make the needed plays without difficulty. His shot production is what you’d expect, mostly low-quality chances from the point set to be deflected. A few things stand out to me, though. His shots generally aren’t that accurate from the point, while it isn’t a surprise, it might be something nice to work on. He’s heavily reliant on his wrist shot, he might benefit from developing his slapshot to the point where he can use it more often. Martin expresses flashes of playmaking skill, but his creativity with the puck isn’t great.
One thing I found notable about Luke Martin was that it looks like it’s Martin himself who opted to not sign with Carolina, this is the route he wants to go.
Right now, I think Martin is a solid bet to develop into a safe NHL depth defenseman. If he can utilize his offensive skill, I think he projects to be an NHL third-pairing defenseman.
Fit With Greenville
In a surprising move this season, the Carolina Hurricanes moved on from the nearby Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Charlotte Checkers. Instead, the two teams are now affiliated with the Florida Panthers. However, it’s likely that the Checkers and Swamp Rabbits did their due diligence on Luke Martin before they affiliated with Florida, probably in anticipation of Martin signing an ELC with Carolina.
Instead, he lands with the team he was expected to play with, just not the same organization.
The Greenville Swamp Rabbits and Charlotte Checkers have leaned into signing younger FAs this offseason, and I liked a lot of their moves. They signed rookies such as Max Zimmer, Ryan Zuhlsdorf, Karch Bachman, Ben Finkelstein, Jack Poehling, Nick Poehling, and Greg Meireles.
The Swamp Rabbits are scheduled to play their next game on New Year’s Day at home against their state rivals, the South Carolina Stringrays.