LA Kings trade Cup-winning goal scorer Martinez to Vegas

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Los Angeles Kings defenseman Alec Martinez, center, looks to redirect the puck, between Colorado Avalanche goaltender Pavel Francouz, left, and defenseman Samuel Girard during the third period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 15, 2020, at Air Force Academy, Colo. The Kings won 3-1. (AP Photo/David Zalubows

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings traded Stanley Cup-winning goal scorer Alec Martinez to the Vegas Golden Knights for two second-round draft picks on Wednesday.

The Kings got the Knights’ second-round pick in 2020 and St. Louis’ second-round choice in 2021 for Martinez, the defenseman who scored the iconic double-overtime goal that won Los Angeles’ second Stanley Cup six years ago.

The 32-year-old Martinez has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, who drafted him in 2007. He cracked Los Angeles’ lineup for good in late 2010 and has spent the ensuing decade as a steady, productive two-way defenseman.

Although he has never scored more than 11 goals in a regular season, Martinez earned a permanent place in franchise lore by scoring the series-winning overtime goals in both the Western Conference finals and the Stanley Cup Final in 2014.

His famous winning shot to beat the Blackhawks in the conference finals deflected in off the chest of Chicago’s Nick Leddy, ending a superb seven-game series at United Center. Chicago and Los Angeles combined to win all four Stanley Cup titles from 2012-15, splitting two straight excellent conference finals along the way.

Martinez then scored the double-overtime winner in Game 5 of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers, converting a rebound of Tyler Toffoli’s shot off Henrik Lundqvist at Staples Center. Martinez’s goal and his ecstatic, glove-flinging celebration — dubbed “Jazz Hands” by Kings fans — are arguably the most memorable moment in Kings history.

Martinez also played on the Kings’ first championship team in 2012. He has 62 goals and 136 assists in 597 career NHL games, and he has six goals and 10 assists in 64 career postseason games.

“Alec has been an important part of the organization for a number of years and was a key member of our Stanley Cup teams,” Kings general manager Rob Blake said in a statement. “We thank Marty for everything he’s done for our organization, our fans and our community.”

Martinez has one goal and seven assists in 41 games with the Kings this season while missing time with injuries, including a serious cut on his right wrist from an opponent’s skate.

Los Angeles kept its championship core largely in place over the past half-decade in an attempt to prolong the best period in the Second Six franchise’s mostly mediocre history. But the last-place Kings finally are dismantling part of that structure as they prepare to miss the playoffs in two straight seasons for the first time since 2009.

Los Angeles has the Western Conference’s worst record at 21-34-5 under first-year coach Todd McLellan, and only Detroit has fewer points in the overall NHL standings.

The Kings traded former 30-goal scorer Toffoli to the Vancouver Canucks on Monday night for forward Tim Schaller, promising prospect Tyler Madden and two draft picks. Two weeks ago, Los Angeles traded forward Kyle Clifford — another career-long Kings player and two-time Stanley Cup winner — and goalie Jack Campbell to Toronto for forward Trevor Moore and two third-round draft picks.

The Kings have kept captain Anze Kopitar, defenseman Drew Doughty, veteran forwards Jeff Carter and Dustin Brown and goalie Jonathan Quick during the franchise’s decline. All five Stanley Cup-winning veterans are signed to enormous contracts.

Martinez has a six-year, $24 million contract through next season. That makes him more than a rental player for the Golden Knights, who are likely playoff-bound for the third straight season.

Vegas began the day tied with Edmonton for the Pacific Division lead, although the top five teams are separated by only two points.

Martinez joins a Golden Knights defensive group that includes Brayden McNabb, who played for the Kings from 2014-17 before Vegas chose him in the expansion draft.

Since coach Peter DeBoer replaced Gerard Gallant, Vegas has allowed a league-low 26.7 shots per game while producing a league-best 36.5 shots.

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Associated Press freelance reporter W.G. Ramirez in Las Vegas contributed to this report.

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