June 25, 2014
Brycen Martin’s style of play doesn’t drop too many jaws, but plays a vital role in helping his team win hockey games. The Swift Current Broncos rearguard plays a responsible and steady game in his own end while possessing the tools to make an impact in the offensive zone.
“Brycen is a very appealing player because you don’t often see him make mistakes out there,” said director of NHL Central Scouting Dan Marr in a January interview. “He’s got very good hockey sense, he’s a strong skater, and he moves the puck well…he has all the ingredients of today’s NHL defenceman. You’re not going to see him on the highlight reels, but he’s just a very solid, effective player.”
One specific aspect in the 6-foot-2, 185-pound Martin’s game that he takes pride in is his lack of mistakes.
“Keeping mistakes down is key to earning trust,” says Martin, who is CSS' No. 26-ranked North American skater. “You don’t want to turn over the puck or make a bad pass and I feel I do a good job of keeping those mistakes out of my game. I feel I make good decisions with the puck and position myself to be in a good position when I don’t have the puck.”
Broncos head coach Mark Lamb rewarded Martin for his consistent defensive play with big ice time in his second season of major junior puck. Night after night, the 18-year-old suited up against opponents’ top scorers.
“It means a lot to be trusted by my coach to play against other teams’ best players,” says Martin, who scored six goals and 37 points in 72 games. “It’s not easy to play against guys like (Prince Albert Raiders star) Leon Draisaitl, but I do my best to shut them down and stay on them.”
Martin, 18, is one of three Broncos blueliners expected to be selected in the draft. Finnish star Julius Honka is regarded as a potential first-round pick and shutdown specialist Brett Lernout is expected to go in the third to fifth round.
“We kept the draft stuff to the sidelines this year,” says Martin. “We’d talk about it a little bit, but tried to just focus on playing. It would be nice to be the first player picked, but I know Honka had a good year and I wish him the best of luck.”
In addition, Martin will be one of many Calgary natives to go high in the entry draft in recent years. In the 2013 draft, teammate Dillon Heatherington (Columbus Blue Jackets, 50th overall), Raiders defenceman Josh Morrissey (Winnipeg Jets, 13th), Regina Pats winger Morgan Klimchuk (Calgary Flames, 28th) and Medicine Hat Tigers forward Hunter Shinkaruk (Vancouver Canucks, 24th) all earned NHL sweaters. Martin has not only played with or against all four them, but he’s also friends with the entire quartet.
“I’m pretty close with Heatherington and Klimchuk,” says Martin. “I know all of those guys, though. It’s great to see Calgary produce some really good players. I’m not sure if the city really does anything different; it just has worked out that the talent has been there over the years.”
1. Do you try to model your game after an NHL defenceman?
“I try to play like (St. Louis Blues star) Alex Pietrangelo. He’s a heavily touted defenceman that has a lot of offensive upside. He can run the power play and put up a lot of points. He also plays really well in his own end and can be counted on in all situations.”
2. Who is your favourite NHL team?
“I’m a Blues fan. I went down there for a hockey tourney when I was younger and started to cheer for them then. I really enjoyed the city and plus Pietrangelo is one of my favourite players.”
3. What’s your favourite movie and TV show?
“My favourite movie is 21 Jump Street and my favourite TV show is Family Guy. I like comedies and those are two of my favourites.”
4. If you weren’t pursuing a career in hockey, what sport would you take seriously?
“I’d probably be into lacrosse. I played it when I was younger and really enjoyed it. I played it up until bantam and had to quit to focus more on hockey.”
5. What’s your plan for the summer? Are you going to work or just focus on offseason training?
“My training schedule is pretty vigorous. I will be really busy skating and working out. I also might have a [NHL] development camp to go to.”
Kelly Friesen is a Buzzing the Net columnist for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter @KellyFriesen