Spencer Martin is the top-rated goalie from the Ontario Hockey League for the 2013 NHL draft, but one wouldn’t know it from his calm demeanour.
Martin, a 17-year-old who plays for the Mississauga Steelheads is off to a torrid start, leading the OHL with a stellar .939 save percentage and a 1.87 goals-against average through five games.
Mississauga’s paltry 23 goals scored are the third-lowest total in the entire league, and the young shot stopper has carried the team thus far.
The Oakville native’s composed attitude has anchored the former Greater Toronto Hockey League star to success this year. Martin reflected on the adjustments he has made in his sophomore campaign.
“Last year was a big jump from minor hockey to major junior. I think this year, shots have slowed down just a little bit, but I still come with the same work ethic and same mindset to the rink everyday,” Martin said outside the Hershey Centre dressing room on Tuesday afternoon.
While it would be easy to succumb to the pressure that the upcoming NHL draft brings, the 6’2 goaltender dismisses it entirely.
“I don’t focus too much on the draft or rankings. I just try to come to practice every day, work hard and at the end of the week get wins.”
Last season, San Jose Sharks draft pick J.P. Anderson and Colorado Avalanche prospect Brandon Maxwell started the vast majority of games for Mississauga, allowing Martin to acclimate to the pace of major junior hockey.
“J.P. and Brandon both gave me advice every day, on and off the ice. I took a lot from them and I’m bringing this in this year,” Martin said.
Anderson and Maxwell’s veteran lessons and experience certainly rubbed off on Martin as he has embraced a role as one of the team’s vocal leaders.
“Oh, he’s amazing! said rookie Damian Bourne, Mississauga’s first-round pick in the 2012 OHL Draft.
“He’s really helped me in adapting towards the OHL, he knows the ropes, he’s taught me what not to do in certain situations with all the older guys being here.”
Bourne continued to sing the praises of his teammate:
“Even in the dressing room, he’s quite a vocal guy. On the ice he leads by example, he’s just a great character.”
Martin may be young but if he continues to excel on the ice, the talented netminder could see a steady road to the NHL.