Coyotes’ Jordan Martinook wants to be more than a hard-working guy

Jan 15, 2018, 5:02 PM
Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Martinook, right, leads his teammates back to the bench after scoring a goa...

Arizona Coyotes' Jordan Martinook, right, leads his teammates back to the bench after scoring a goal on Philadelphia Flyers' Brian Elliott, center, during the first period of an NHL hockey game, Monday, Oct. 30, 2017, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

(AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Jordan Martinook burst onto the Coyotes’ scene at 2015 training camp, playing so well and so hard that former coach Dave Tippett chided reporters for not paying enough attention to a detail-oriented player that never cheated his team.

Martinook had nine goals and 24 points his rookie season, and 11 goals and 25 points in 15:41 of average ice time last season.

This season has been a different story. Through 44 games, Martinook has three goals, 11 points and his average ice time has dropped to 13:15 a game, the third-lowest total among regular forwards behind Zac Rinaldo (11:10) and Nick Cousins (11:17).

Part of that drop is attributable to the young skill the Coyotes are putting in more situations to expedite their growth process. Part of that drop is because Martinook is no longer on the ice late in games to protect leads. The Coyotes haven’t had a lot of late leads.

Martinook still plays a key role on the team’s penalty-killing unit, which has been among the league’s best since Halloween, and he still plays a shutdown role depending on matchups, but his coach wants more.

“He’s a good penalty killer and he works hard. That’s his style,” coach Rick Tocchet said. “We’d like to get some more offense out of him, like anybody on our team. You can hang your hat on being a penalty killer but I think he wants more, too.”

Like everyone on the team, Martinook underwent an adjustment period to a new coach and new style. He had one goal and four points through the first two months of the season.

He has a goal and five points in his past eight games.

“I feel like since Christmas my game has really come around,” he said. “I’ve been around pucks. I’ve been getting lots of chances. I just need to get in a little groove and maybe score two in maybe a three-, four-game stretch.”

In some respects, Martinook is a perfect fit for Tocchet’s system because he has excellent speed to get in on the forecheck and he has the tenacity to sustain possession and zone time.

“Yeah, but now when you have the puck, you have to make some plays from it,” Tocchet said. “He’s a guy that works hard, but now he has to work on a little more of his hand skills with the puck and passing.”

Martinook had a close relationship with Tippett, but he is grateful for one shift in his role this season.

“Last year, I was kind of like the rover guy,” he said. “I played center, I played right wing, I played left wing. This year, I feel like I’ve got more stability just being on the left wing and that has been nice — and PK is still such a big part of my game.”

Martinook admitted he had to adjust to different expectations this season with Tocchet in the fold.

“I think you have to get used to each other,” he said “You knew what to expect with a guy you came up with. Now it’s a new guy so you have to learn what he wants out of you. It’s not going to happen overnight.”

Like his teammates, Martinook hops that adjustment period is behind him.

“Whenever the team is where we’re at, everybody feels like they can bring more. I want to bring more offensively and I want to get my plus-minus (minus-15) down,” he said.

“I just want to try and stick with the system. Look at the games where we are playing really good. We’re playing fast, we’re controlling pucks and then we have a small lull where we get away from it and it’s in the back of our net. When we’re playing the right way, the way [Tocchet] wants us to play, we look like a really good team.”

Sharks at Coyotes
When: 7 p.m., Tuesday
Where: Gila River Arena
TV: FOX Sports Arizona Plus
Radio: 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station
Records: Coyotes –10-28-7. Sharks — 23-13-6.
Injury report: Coyotes — None. Sharks — None.

Coyotes scouting report: Zac Rinaldo is eligible to return to the lineup and is likely to play on a line with Brad Richardson and Jordan Martinook. … Kevin Connauton could be the odd-man out in the Coyotes’ seven-man defensive rotation on Tuesday.

Sharks scouting report: San Jose beat Los Angeles on Monday afternoon at Staples Center so this will be its third game in four nights after a 6-5 overtime win over the Coyotes at SAP Center on Saturday. … San Jose is 6-2-2 in its last 10 games and has climbed within a point of Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division. … D Brent Burns leads the team with 26 assists and 33 points. F Logan Couture leads the team with 17 goals.

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