Report: Rutherford eyeing former Penguins blue liner Martin for trade?

Could there be a reunion tour for the 36-year-old veteran?

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With news breaking last week that San Jose Sharks GM Doug Wilson is actively looking to trade veteran defenseman Paul Martin and then yesterday’s subsequent news that Martin had been placed on waivers (again), Pittsburgh Penguins fans and analysts are working overtime to connect the dots on a potential Martin/Penguins reunion.

Don’t count on it though, warns Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reporter Jason Mackey. In his latest 20 Penguins Thoughts for the paper, Mackey addresses the Martin situation in San Jose and admits that he could be an intriguing addition to the Pens’ mix, but ultimately determines that there’s no fit between the team and the 36-year-old veteran.

“I was told by an industry source that there simply isn’t a fit with Martin in Pittsburgh,” said Mackey before adding, “and it’s pretty easy to see why.”

Martin is 36-years-old after all and a shadow of his former myself. The smooth skating, puck moving defenseman who played with the Pens from 2010 until 2015 has morphed into a reliable, shut-down defenseman in the latter stages of his career. And while he can certainly fill a role on the right team, his $4.5 million contract through next season makes him a bit rich for most teams…. including the Pens.

Throw in the fact that when Chad Ruhwedel returns from injury the Pens will have eight healthy NHL defenseman and it’s tough to see where Martin would fit in with this group. There’s simply no room.

Regardless, it’s tough to see such a selfless player left twisting in the wind like this. No one knows for sure exactly what will happen for Martin and his NHL future, but as Mackey puts it, “we know the Penguins won’t play a part.”

“I do think San Jose is trying to find him another spot in the NHL, and there are people who believe he can still help someone,” said Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman over the weekend. 

Mercury News reporter and Sharks insider Curtis Pashelka reports that some teams are indeed interested and have inquired about acquiring Martin.

“There has been interest from some pretty good teams, some top teams,” Martin’s agent, Ben Hankinson, told Pashelka. “It’s early in the process, but definitely at least a handful of teams have interest and we’re trying to see if there’s a fit.”

As for Martin, he just wants to play. If that’s in San Jose, or elsewhere… it doesn’t matter. He just wants to play. 

You can hear it in Martin’s voice. He’s at a loss for words. He doesn’t know what his future holds… he just wants to play. He reiterated that his first choice is to play for the Sharks, but failing that just wants a chance to play elsewhere in the NHL.