Ryan Martindale enjoyed an impressive junior career, playing on one of junior hockey’s most famous lines during his time in Ottawa. Size and skill and some major questions. So far this season, none of those questions have been answered.
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.”
Redline: 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.
After signing his pro contract (late, it was October) Ryan Martindale joined Curtis Hamilton and Tyler Pitlick as early pro’s from the 2010 draft (Taylor Hall beat them all by making the NHL just months after being selected). Martindale’s offense in junior hockey is well known and he projected well based on Desjardins’ NHLE’s. Here are the CHL forwards from 10-11 and their numbers run through Gabe’s equivalency:
- Curtis Hamilton (WHL) 10-23-33
- Ryan Martindale (OHL) 13-18-31
- Tyler Pitlick (WHL) 12-15-27
- Drew Czerwonka (WHL) 5-11-16
- Kristians Pelss (WHL) 5-8-13
- Cameron Abney (WHL) 3-5-8
In training camp this fall, Martindale showed flashes of that offensive ability but also displayed the things that may keep him from making the NHL (he’s not White Lightning on skates and seems to spend time on cruise control) but he did enough to convince the organization to sign him once the 50-Man situation shook loose.
Which brings us to the curious beginning of Martindale’s career in pro hockey. Curtis Hamilton was signed in mid-April, Tyler Pitlick was signed a few days before Hamilton. Martindale was signed deep into the pre-season, in fact he signed just before OKC’s season began.
Martindale ended up in Stockton (ECHL) and not much happened in October and November. He did get a taste of AHL action (2, 0-0-0 -1) but would appear to be an extra on the depth chart at this time. His Stockton performance (21, 1-7-8) didn’t force the callup, but rather injuries and suspensions.
Martindale is similar to Pitlick and Hamilton in that their stories are starting slowly because of the organization’s forward depth. All three will need to force their way into AHL jobs and that could take most of this year and some of next season. Ryan Martindale has not progressed as an NHL prospect, but it would be hard to argue that he’s going the wrong way based on opportunity.