The Bottom Six – Martin, Glendening, Weise
Every week we’re going to look at some of the best talents that don’t get the recognition or the attention they deserve. Bottom-six forwards are just as important to any team as the star players, the scorers, the shutdown defensemen and the goalies. These players that make the list are simply players who thrive at their job, a job that usually focuses towards defense, checking and getting energy for the team. Now this isn’t a list with a particular order. You can decide who you believe is the best bottom-six forward, we’re just listing some of the best.
Matt Martin – New York Islanders
Drafted by Islanders in 2008 (5th round – 148th Overall)
Stats – Games (78), Goals (8), Assists (6)
Now his stats aren’t great, simply put. He’s not paid to score; he’s paid to be an enforcer. Standing at 6’3” 215 pounds, Martin is a force to be reckoned with. A fighter he is, a man whose one goal is to see the opponent, his next victim, on the ice after a bone crushing hit.
Hitting is his number one asset and what an asset it is. No one, since his arrival to the NHL in the 2009/10 season, has put up the same number of hits as Martin. This season Martin put up an outstanding 382 hits, in second place was his teammate Cal Clutterbuck with 343. Over the past 3 full seasons Martin has averaged 371 hits. The last four seasons, including the shortened year, he has led the league in hits with outstanding numbers. No one in the league coming anywhere near his totals.
Martin is also a great fighter, engaging in 9 bouts during the regular season, putting him in the top 10 of the league. He won’t have the same number of fights as say a Colton Orr or Brandon Prust, but he can throw down when needed.
He is an important part of the New York Islander team. Just being one-third of their dynamic fourth line, with Cal Clutterbuck and Casey Cizikas. He averages over 11 minutes per game which is pretty substantial for a fourth liner.
Every team needs a Matt Martin, someone who isn’t afraid to get dirty and is willing to do anything for the team. A guy who is there when you need some energy.
Luke Glendening – Detroit Red Wings
Signed as a Free Agent
Stats – Games (82), Goals (12), Assists (6)
A player almost every Detroit Red Wings fan will say they are glad they signed. Never drafted, Glendening was given a chance by the Grand Rapids of the AHL, Detroit’s farm team. Standing at 5’11” and 195 pounds, he isn’t someone you get intimidated by but he for sure has heart. Now in his second year with the big club, he has really proven to be a staple for this organization.
Playing against the other team’s top players day-in and day-out, even in these playoffs he is neck and neck with the Lightning’s Tyler Johnson each game. One of the biggest stats Glendening has is his plus-5 this season. Not really an eye dropping stat, but he plays big minutes for the Red Wings, sometimes close to 18 minutes a game. All this while playing almost every shift against the other team’s best players, and he is still a plus player, so he is doing something right.
A factor on the penalty kills, where he plays a vital role. He is simply a smart player, not flashy (that shorthanded goal he scored against the Lightning was pretty nice though), does the little things right, he just does his job.
These playoffs are truly showing how important he is to the team. When he got hurt, Tyler Johnson lit up the Red Wings, next game he’s back and they shutout the league’s best offense. Not saying he’s the key reason but he plays a strong defensive game each night.
Not bad for a guy who is a graduate of the Toledo Walleye of the ECHL, not many of those in the NHL.
Dale Weise – Montreal Canadiens
Drafted by Rangers in 2008/ 4th round-111
Stats – Games (79), Goals (10), Assists (19)
Simply put, Dale Weise was a steal of a trade for the Montreal Canadiens. Weise was traded from the Vancouver Canucks for defensemen Raphael Diaz, who later was traded for a fifth round pick by the New York Rangers. Since his arrival Weise has played well and settled into a system, a team, which can and is probably the toughest team to play for (sorry leafs, you’re just bad, not tough to play for).
He’s a guy who can play with anybody and still be productive. He won’t get the big stats but when he doesn’t have the scoring touch, he’ll defend well and be a great fore-checker. His coach Michel Therrien has noticed that and has even put Weise on their top-line alongside sniper Max Pacioretty.
The greatest aspect of Weise’s game is his ability to show up when the games matter most. He is a great playoff player. Last year’s great run to the Eastern Conference Finals by the Canadiens proved this. Playing with Danny Briere, Michael Bournival and at times Brandon Prust, this fourth line was a treat to watch, playing early in each game and getting the Canadiens early leads.
Weise has scored two playoff OT goals, in Game 1 last year against the Tampa Bay Lightning and this year in Game 3 against the Ottawa Senators. He also scored in Game 7 against the Boston Bruins. Weise can score the big goal and at the same time make it a living hell for those playing against him.
When you get supposed “Death Threats” from Milan Lucic, you know you have made it big at your job to get under the skin of your opponent.
Now they aren’t the flashy players, they won’t get 30 goals every year, but they are really what make each and every NHL team. The bottom-six forwards are just as much to any NHL team as all the All-Star players.
Now this article will give those players the recognition they deserve and for the avid NHL 15 fans who are making the best Franchise with the Salary Cap on, well they are good fits on your team and don’t cost the same as say a Crosby, Toews or Subban.