A year ago when the Los Angeles Kings lost to the Chicago Blackhawks in the Western Conference Finals, Alec Martinez was a bit player that at times saw himself in the press box. This year Martinez came up with overtime goals in Game 7 of the Western Conference Finals against those same Blackhawks and clinched the team’s second Stanley Cup in three seasons with a double overtime winner against the New York Rangers.
Martinez was a fourth round pick of the Kings in 2007 and was a standout player at Miami University of Ohio for three seasons before coming up through the Kings’ minor league system and becoming a full-time NHLer with the Kings in 2010.
When the Kings won the Cup in 2012 Martinez suited up in all 20 games for the them as he got his name on the team’s first ever Stanley Cup. In 2013, he struggled at times and only played in seven of the team’s 18 playoff games.
This year Martinez bounced back and was a critical component of the Kings’ blue line from start to finish, especially in the playoffs. Martinez was the team’s third leading scorer among defensemen and due to injuries and ineffectiveness by his counterparts, had to play bigger minutes than he’s used to. Martinez was up to the task and delivered in ways he never has before.
By netting the double overtime winner to clinch the Stanley Cup, Martinez has earned a spot in hockey immortality. While the individual accolades are great, even Martinez would surely say he wouldn’t have had the opportunity to seize the moment without his teammates.
Understanding his role within the bigger picture of the team is part of what makes Martinez an integral part of the Los Angeles Kings. It has also helped him to become a champion twice in three years.