What Acquiring Noah Hanifin Means for Alec Martinez

The three-time Stanley Cup champion might be done with Vegas after the Golden Knights acquired Noah Hanifin. What does his future hold?

Vegas Golden Knights v Columbus Blue Jackets
Vegas Golden Knights v Columbus Blue Jackets / Jason Mowry/GettyImages

The Vegas Golden Knights made two big splashes at the trade deadline, acquiring Anthony Mantha and Noah Hanifin. While Mantha won't be of much concern for a particular defenseman named Alec Martinez, Hanifin might be replacing him.

After all, the Golden Knights were working on a contract extension with the 27-year-old. With news breaking that the Boston native might be a long-time Vegas Golden Knight, that brings up the question about Martinez's tenure.

Where Does This Leave Alec Martinez?

Alec Martinez is in the last year of a three-year, $15.75 million deal with the Golden Knights. It's with good reason that the defenseman won't come back to Vegas next season, considering he's 36 years old.

As for right now? Martinez is currently on injured reserve, with the native of Rochester Hills, Michigan, likely to move to LTIR. While the injury's undisclosed, it's kept Martinez from playing 100% in the past couple of weeks.

Alec Martinez's Purpose Now

But this isn't saying that Martinez is completely useless on the Vegas Golden Knights. Entering Thursday's game against Vancouver, the 36-year-old was ninth in the NHL in blocked shots with 152.

He's also a bigger body that fits Bruce Cassidy's system perfectly. At 6'1" and 215 lbs., Martinez is a defenseman that can take abuse from opposing offenses. The Golden Knights need veteran experience in the postseason. What better person to be leading the charge than the three-time Stanley Cup champion?

There's a pathway for the Golden Knights to have both Martinez and Hanifin in the top six defensively. Zach Whitecloud has been absent for a chunk of the season, which leaves Martinez with an opportunity to get back in.

However, there likely won't be a spot for the 36-year-old after this season. Kelly McCrimmon prefers younger stars that can carry the load (i.e. Hanifin). That's why Reilly Smith was shipped to Pittsburgh this past offseason. While the Original Misfit was a reliable scorer, the Golden Knights want to avoid being the "over-the-hill" team. That's why you likely won't see much of Alec Martinez in Las Vegas anymore.