#13 Prospect: Ryan Martindale

Winter 2009: NR
Summer 2010: #14

Winter 2010: #13

The fact that Ryan Martindale is at #13 tells us this is a ridiculous period for Oilers prospects. The skilled OHL center has multiple skills and could end up being that big #1 center they’ve been looking for since Jason Arnott.

Know this: Martindale’s ranking is no reflection about how I feel about him as a prospect. He does have some things to work on, and because of it ranks below the elite prospects, the strong bets and the good ones. He’ll need some luck and hard work, but there are a lot of good arrows. –

  • Redline Report: Big pivot has three OHL campaigns under his belt and still shows the same mind-numbing lack of effort and passion we saw in him playing minor hockey, when he was being touted as a can’t miss prospect. Effective with the puck in open ice – uses long quick reach, quick hands, and slick puckhandling skills. Lackign strength and drive in his legs, and not quick off the mark. Does have a nice shot release and can be effective when he shows some interest. But is easily pushed off the puck by smaller d-men. Soft and doesn’t compete. Loses all the little battles and in not wild about contact. Projection: Frustrating project on the AHL/NHL shuttle. Style compares to: Ryan O’Marra.

Martindale is 6.03, 190. He’s a big man and because of it can sometimes look like he’s cruising. They used to say the same thing about Frank Mahovlich: don’t wake him up, let him sleep, they’d say. Joe Thornton gets the same treatment, and bringing it all back home so does Dustin Penner. I’ve said this a million times but it’s the ballad of the big man: while little guys like Tie Domi look like they’re passing a kidney stone they’re trying so hard to get back, big men look like the wind is carrying them hither and yon. I don’t know if my description contributed to the scouting report above, but we’ve seen this kind of thing before and should keep it in mind with this player.

After the draft, we got some good intel from Stu MacGregor:

  • “He was their top line centerman, he played with Toffoli. He was a very solid, big guy. He has to improve his game in some areas, but he has size and skill. His overall commitment needs to be there every night. He’s a big kid that has a lot of talent.”

And from Steve Tambellini:

  • He’s a 6.03 center, some games he would dominate and some games he wouldn’t. He’s just growing into his body, he’s a tall young guy. That presence in the middle with that kind of size is what we’re looking for.”

Oilers plucked him at #61 in the entry draft and he’s a good bet to cover it.

Here is Martindale’s season so far:

  • September 2gp, 0-2-2 -1
  • October: 13gp, 9-9-18 +10
  • November: 12gp, 8-12-20 +12
  • December: DNP

Here’s what I wrote about him at ON on November 21:

  • What in the wide world of sports is going on here? Ryan Martindale is third in OHL scoring!! Based on draft pedigree that’s an overshoot of mammoth proportions and we can start to wonder openly about getting a draft steal at number 61. 24gp, 17-21-38 +20 and he plays on the number one line in the league (with Prince and Toffoli). He’s rocked November (9gp, 8-10-18 +10) and another month like that one and he’ll lead the league in points as Christmas. Even better, he’s only 5-5-10 on the PP (1-1-2 SH) so a lot of his points are coming at even strength (24gp, 11-15-26). This is a very, very goood sign. The only negative is that the entire line is ripping it up so we’re not sure who’s driving the bus. Toronto once drafted Laurie Boschman without realizing the key to the line was Brian Propp on LW. Propp went 5 spots after Boschman and delivered a much stronger career.


Martindale is currently injured (ankle) so is now well off the scoring pace. However, there are still good arrows. His reaction to getting left off the World Junior invite list: “It was definitely a goal of mine. But it’s really out of my control. There’s so many different factors why they didn’t choose me but I think I’ll just use that as motivation to pick up my pace and keep getting better.”

Music! We know some Oiler picks of the past did not say the right thing at difficult times, and the fact that Martindale did take the wise route is in itself a sign of maturity.

Even at this early stage, Martindale’s size and skill give him an exceptional shot at center for the Oilers. The NHL team boasts a top 4C of Horcoff, Gagner, Cogliano and Fraser. The AHL Barons have an approximate depth chart of Moran, O’Marra, Vande Velde and Kytnar. Prospects who rank above Martindale include Tyler Pitlick and Anton Lander.

From that group of 10, how many have size and skill? Horcoff, O’Marra, Vande Velde, Pitlick? It’s not a very long list, and if Martindale continues to post eye-popping numbers he’s going to pass some people on that depth chart.

This season, Oiler prospects chosen in 2010 are performing at a very high level. Martin Marincin and Curtis Hamilton are on fire in the WHL, and Martindale is making the Redline scouting report look harsh and more than a little off the mark. Even after missing a few games, he’s still just outside the top 10 in OHL scoring.

Martindale would be an easy top 10 on any normal list of Oiler prospects. I imagine he’ll be well inside the top 10 by summer 2011–on merit.

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