The Idaho Steelheads have made a splash as they prepare for their 2015-2016 ECHL campaign. The Steelheads, who had the second most points in the western conference last season, have acquired all star defenseman James Martin from the Fort Wayne Komets.
Martin, a 24 year old defenseman, scored 41 points last season, 32 of which were assists. He was an all star last year and he also played in seven games at the American Hockey League level with the Lake Erie Monsters, the then affiliate of the Colorado Avalanche.
Martin has seem plenty of time in pro hockey with 197 games played, 155 of which were in the ECHL between Alaska and Fort Wayne.
The former Kootenay Ice player has won an ECHL title when he won the Kelly Cup with the Alaska Aces in 2014. He also won the WHL title with the Ice.
The Winnipeg, Manitoba, native has won hoisted championship trophies while in major junior hockey (Kootenay, WHL, 2011) and pro hockey (Alaska, ECHL, 2014). In all, Martin has appeared in 197 games at the pro level, 155 in the ECHL and 42 in the AHL.
The Steelheads, who have renewed their deal to remain affiliated with the Dallas Stars, won their division last season when they picked up 102 points. The next best team, the Ontario Reign, had just 96. Idaho finished just behind the eventual Kelly Cup champion Allen Americans who had 106 points. They also finished behind eastern conference clubs the Toledo Walleye and Florida Everblades.
Idaho was upset in the first round of the playoffs last season when they lost in six games to the fourth seed Utah Grizzlies.
Martin has played in three ECHL seasons with three different teams. He began his career with the Utah Grizzlies when he scored 13 points. He headed to Alaska where he contributed 17 points and helped them win a Kelly Cup.
Martin’s breakout season came last year when he scored 42 points with the Komets, who had a playoff run of their own.
Going to the Komets in return for their defenseman is forward Alex Belzile. Belzile is 24 years old and he scored 28 points for the Steelheads last season, all in all scoring 69 points in 63 games played.