The Golden Knights are sniffing around their division for defensive help ahead of the trade deadline.
Martinez is a two-time Stanley Cup champion and would allow coach Peter DeBoer to shuffle his top four defensemen. Or DeBoer could plug Martinez into the left side of the Knights’ third defense pairing.
The Knights have three pending unrestricted free agents on defense (Deryk Engelland, Nick Holden and Jon Merrill), and Martinez is signed through the 2020-21 season with a $4 million salary cap hit.
According to CapFriendly.com, the Knights are projected to have approximately $750,000 in deadline cap space. They could create more room in a trade or have the Kings retain some of Martinez’s salary if a deal were to be struck.
Los Angeles (19-30-5) is last in the Western Conference and started selling assets Wednesday.
The Kings traded backup goaltender Jack Campbell and forward Kyle Clifford to Toronto for forward Trevor Moore and two draft picks.
The Knights have extra draft picks in the second and third round in 2020 along with two additional second-round picks in 2021 that can be used to acquire Martinez before the Feb. 24 deadline.
The Knights heavily scouted the 6-foot-1-inch, 209-pound defenseman recently, sending director of player personnel Vaughn Karpan and pro scout Kelly Kisio to the Kings’ game at Arizona on Jan. 30.
Martinez is in his 10th season in Los Angeles, and his postseason experience would be a valuable addition. He has appeared in 64 playoff games and scored the championship-sealing goal in overtime of Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final.
This season, Martinez has one goal and eight points in 36 games. The Knights probably remember that goal well, as it was the first of four the team allowed in the first period in a 5-2 loss to the Kings on Jan. 9.
DeBoer returns to Florida
DeBoer shares something in common with his predecessor, Gerard Gallant: They’ve been fired by the Florida Panthers, who hosted the Knights on Thursday at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida.
DeBoer’s firing wasn’t as infamous — he wasn’t photographed climbing into a cab as Gallant was — but it did end his first coaching tenure. DeBoer was 103-107-36 with the Panthers from 2008 to 2011. He went on to have greater success in his next two coaching jobs with the New Jersey Devils and San Jose Sharks.
“This is actually my third different team back here with,” DeBoer said before Thursday’s game. “The first time back, it was (emotional), but I think that’s in the rearview mirror. It’s still great to come back and see friendly faces and people. There’s a lot of the same people here that were here 11 years ago, it’s hard to believe, when I came here.”
The Knights released a list of live and silent auction items available at their annual “Knight to Remember” gala, which benefits the team’s charity.
One item of particular note is goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury’s gold pads from the 2018-19 season.
The gala will take place at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18 at XS Nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas.