Back To Radek, Isles Sign Veteran D-Man To One-Year Deal

The New York Islanders have signed veteran defenseman Radek Martinek to a one-year deal for the remainder of the 2014 season. Martinek has spent the majority of his career with the Isles, who were the team that drafted him back in 1999. 

With the Isles having lost offensive d-man Lubomir Visnovsky to a concussion, this move comes hardly as a surprise (Photo credit: photogirl_2984/Flickr). 

Defenders Brian Strait, Thomas Hickey and Matt Donovan, the latter being a full-time rookie, combine for very limited NHL experience and are three of the top-six active defenseman.

Veteran Matt Carkner has been been dressed more frequently but is a 6th/7th defenseman at best who can clear bodies in front of the net and play physical. The combined inexperience and depth on the blue line has placed the majority of the workload on both Travis Hamonic and Andrew MacDonald's shoulders. 

The defense has also contributed to plenty of rebounds in front of goaltender Evgeni Nabokov. Although Nabby has given up the rebounds, the defense has not been in position on many of these plays and could have (and should have) been able to do more to prevent second and third scoring chance in front of the Islanders net. 

Per the Islanders official press release:

Veteran Defenseman Returns To Islanders For 12th NHL Season

UNIONDALE, NY (October 23, 2013) – The New York Islanders announced today that defenseman Radek Martinek has agreed to a one-year deal.

Martinek, 37, has appeared in 473 career National Hockey League games, including 466 with the Islanders. A native of Havlicko Brod, Czech Republic, Martinek has 25 goals and 82 assists for 107 career points. He’s also appeared in 11 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, all with the Islanders.

The Islanders selected Martinek in the eighth round (228th overall) of the 1999 NHL Entry Draft. The 6’2, 210-pound defenseman scored three goals in 13 regular season games last season with the Islanders, while also appearing in two playoff games during the Islanders’ Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Martinek played five seasons in the Czech league with Ceske Budejovice from 1996-2001, the same club with which he spent the 2004-05 lockout season. He also appeared in four games with Ceske Budejovice last season. On the international stage, Martinek has represented the Czech Republic at three World Championships (2000, 2001, 2011).

Martinek has always been a serviceable skater for the Isles blue line. He is responsible in his own end, plays physical along the boards and can occasionally surprise the opposition with an offensive attack. 

At the very least, Martinek's presence will restore some more credibility to the Isles defense core and be a familiar face to fans and teammates.

-Rob McGowan