In his first comments Thursday since his new six-year, $24-million contract with the
";I don't think it's any time to sit back," Martinez said. "I want to continue to win championships here. If anything, [the contract] makes it a better time to make those steps in my game and continue to become a better player.
";We've got something special in here and it's something I wanted to continue."
Martinez returned from a seven-game absence due to an injured finger Tuesday against Boston and has two goals and seven points in 18 games this season while being plus-nine with a three-assist game.
";There's been some ups and downs, but it's made me a better player, I've learned from those experiences," he said in reference to last season's early run of healthy scratches.
";I don't think anything changes [with the contract] … keeping a good dialogue. He'll give you a kick in the rear when you need it and let you know when you're doing something well. There's a lot of people who took a chance on me. [I] give credit to a lot of people."
Sutter said as Martinez now routinely plays near or beyond 20 minutes a game, it’s nice to have Martinez,
";Marty' could've waited until the summer. He didn't," Sutter said. "The most important part is playing on a good team."
The coach downplayed the notion that the past scratches of Martinez were a knock on his play, given it is a championship roster.
"You don't win with six defensemen, you need eight," Sutter said. "There were times it wasn't performance-related.
"Obviously -- he just signed a six-year contract -- he's made significant strides. Young players on parts of two championships – doesn't matter if they've played eight or 18 minutes – they've made significant strides. 'Marty,' in that 20-minute area, that effects the caliber of player he's against. We have higher expectations now than at any point."
UP NEXT?: Forward Tyler Toffoli, with 10 goals and 20 assists through 25 games, might be next on the Kings' list for contract talks since he'll be a restricted free agent at season's end.
"I'm happy to be here, just want to win, not too worried about those things," Toffoli said. "You see guys signing and I know I don't have a contract next year, but I'm not too worried about it.