Goalie Spencer Martin Poised for Canucks NHL Duty
Goalie Spencer Martin had the nifty and somewhat remarkable record of 3-0-and-3 with the Vancouver Canucks last season. Given the absurdly strong netminding statistics of a 1.74 goals against average and a .950 save percentage, it’s even more remarkable he didn’t go 6-and-0.
Forced into duty due to team Covid protocols and later goaltending injuries, Martin made the most of it. He’s now the heir apparent to Jaroslav Halak, a veteran who’s one year experiment with the Canucks was marked with disappointment.
Now the back-up job behind Thatcher Demko is Martin’s gig to lose.
“I’m not taking anything for granted or assuming that I’m gonna be here, I’m just trying to prove that I can be here and also just be a difference maker,” Martin said after on-ice work-outs on Thursday. “I don’t want to just make the team, I want to put myself in a position where I can help and be a good asset coming up.”
Other than a newly designed mask, Martin says he’s stuck with the same gear and same routine in preparation for this season, always knowing that goalie coach Ian Clark will have some new and different challenges for him. Martin worked with burgeoning Penguins goalie coach Andy Chiodo in greater Toronto during the off-season.
Martin has been patient. It’s his eighth year pro, but before last season’s opportunities with the big Canucks, his last NHL games, three of them, were with the Colorado Avalanche back in 2016-’17. His numbers were much different then as a toss in, going 0-2-and-1 with an .865 save percentage and a 4.35 goals against. The Av’s drafted Martin in the 3rd-round of the NHL Draft back in 2013.
The Canucks were confident enough in Martin’s development and maturity to sign him to a one-way NHL deal in the spring for two seasons. It’s low risk for them, he’s making the minimum. 2022-’23 presents the opportunity to solidify himself as at least an NHL back-up and to give himself a chance to eventually get a raise off the $762,000 per season he’ll be making.
For now, that’s not at all a concern.
“This is obviously a big opportunity this year for me, so I got right into it this summer and planned to come here about a month early before camp,” Martin said. “I can already feel the benefits of that, being here, feeling like I’m going to be ahead of it rather than coming in and landing and having camp start right away. So I’m excited about that.”
The Vancouver Canucks are as well.