Left-winger Rick Martin was a talented offensive player with speed and a lethal shot. He played nearly 700 games in the 70s and 80s, mostly with the Buffalo Sabres.
Born in Verdun, Quebec, Martin played in the QJHL with the Thetford Canadiens before moving up to the Montreal Junior Canadiens of the OHA. During his first year with the club he scored 22 goals and contributed to a Memorial Cup championship. Two years later he notched 71 goals for the team and was picked 5th overall by the Buffalo Sabres at the Amateur Draft. Martin was also picked to the OHA's first all-star team that year.
In 1971-72, Martin broke teammate Gilbert Perreault's NHL rookie record for goals by firing 44 of his own. A few months later he was picked as a reserve for Team Canada in the historic Summit Series versus the Soviet Union. Martin dipped slightly to 37 goals in 1972-73 but his defensive play improved and he helped Buffalo reach the playoffs in only its third year of existence. More importantly, he formed the dreaded "French Connection" line with Rene Robert and Perreault.
During the 1973-74 season, Martin scored 52 goals though the club sagged when Perreault broke his leg in mid-season. The next year he duplicated his 52-goal output then registered 15 points in seven playoff games when the Sabres reached the finals. The clever winger was among the NHL's top snipers through the 1979-80 season and scored three goals for his country at the inaugural Canada Cup tournament in 1976. He was named to the NHL first and second all-star teams twice each and played in seven straight all-star games commencing in 1972.
Early in the 1980-81 season Martin experienced back trouble and quickly lost his effectiveness on the ice. In March, 1981 he was traded to the LA Kings who yielded a first round pick that was later used to claim goalie Tom Barrasso. Martin was forced to retire three games into the 1981-82 season due to chronic back pain.