Injured lefty-defenseman Christian Marti was assigned to the Phantoms from the Flyers yesterday. He had always been destined for the Phantoms, but had to remain with Philadelphia until healthy enough to skate. der Eishockeyzuschauer filed the following report:
Schliesslich, ist unser neue Verteidiger aus der Schweiz angekommen![“Finally , our new Defender from Switzerland has arrived “]
..As per the AHL’s official website, the Philadelphia Flyers formally assigned rookie Swiss defenseman Christian Marti to their Lehigh Valley Phantoms farm club yesterday.
Marti was injured while participating in the Flyers’ annual rookie camp this summer and did not participate when full training camp came around in the fall. Towards the end of September, it was announced by the Philadelphia front office that the 22-year-old newcomer needed shoulder surgery and would be out of action “until mid-November”. Considering it is only the second day of the new month, it can be said that Swiss rookie’s return is ‘ahead of schedule’ and that has to be interpreted as good news for all.
Marti (6’3″ 210 lbs), signed as an undrafted free agent to an entry level contract by the Philadelphia Flyers organization last spring, is the typical “stay-at-home” defenseman who primarily focuses on taking care of business in his own end.
A scouting report written almost two years ago in December 2013 by Swiss hockey observer Rafik Soliman reads as follows :
“Posses a rare combination of size and mobility. With his (stick) skills and long reach has perfect shutdown abilities. Battles hard along the boards and will not quit until he has the puck. Plays with a lot of intensity (and) loves to throw out punishing hits. Needs to work on consistency and avoiding defensive woes (errors). Has untapped offensive abilities and a booming shot from the point, which makes him an option for a power play unit.”
Marti has spent the last two seasons skating in the Swiss Nationalliga A (first division) for HC Servette Geneva, who marched all the way to the playoff semifinals in each of those two campaigns before being knocked out by the same SC Zurich club. Towards the end of January last winter, the newest Lehigh Valley Phantoms defender had his season cut short after suffering a shoulder injury in a game against EV Zug. It is interesting to note that SC Zurich needed the maximum seven games to dispatch HC Servette Geneva (with Marti in the line-up) two seasons ago but only required five games to eliminate the same playoff semifinal opponent (without Marti in the line-up) last spring.
Commenting on an article discussing the Philadelphia Flyers’ signing of Marti last spring, one Swiss hockey fan remarked that Marti had been “sorely missed (by HC Servette Geneva) in the playoffs”.
When asked previously this fall how it was that Marti, who appeared with Switzerland at the annual IIHF World Junior Championships in both 2012 and 2013, was never drafted by any of the National Hockey League’s thirty clubs, Philadelphia Flyers Director of Scouting Chris Pryor reportedly stated, “I saw him play last year and asked myself how that could happen.”
With respect to conditioning, whether or not Christian Marti is ready to skate in an AHL game for the Lehigh Valley Phantoms remains to be seen. As soon as the Swiss import is pronounced fit, Marti figures to challenge the much smaller and lighter Jesper Pettersson (5’8″ 192 lbs) for a place in the Phantoms line-up immediately. As it is, the Swede seems to be the seventh defenseman for Lehigh Valley at the moment but, then again, this is the minor leagues, where injuries and recalls are both undeniable facts of hockey life.
Marti has already competed against Lehigh Valley defenseman Robert Hagg in the preliminary round of the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships when Sweden nipped Switzerland 3-2 by virtue of a shootout at the Sports Palace in Ufa, Russia.
Marti has also already skated against Lehigh Valley defenseman Matt Lashoff when the 29-year-old veteran American blueliner was a member of SC Zurich’s NLA title-winning team (the one that edged HC Servette Geneva 4-3 in the semifinals) during the 2012/13 season.
And Marti has even played against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms’ newest PTO signing just up from the ECHL’s Reading Royals, forward Kevin Sundher, when this past Sunday’s shootout hero was with the AHL’s Rochester Americans club that traveled overseas at the Christmas holiday season to compete in the 2013 Spengler Cup, the annual international tournament held in Davos, Switzerland, that always concludes with a daytime final on New Year’s Eve … (HC Servette Geneva stomped the Rochester Americans 5-0 on the first day of the tourney and later lifted the Spengler Cup trophy that season).