Matt Martin didn’t see it coming.

He had played 542 NHL games without ever being removed from the lineup when healthy. He had dressed for 110 of 111 since joining the Toronto Maple Leafs – missing only one last month with a lower-body injury before getting scratched for Friday’s game in Carolina.

Perhaps, most importantly, he is early in Year 2 of the $10-million, four-year contract he signed as a free agent. That status alone is usually enough to protect your spot in the rotation.

“Obviously it’s difficult,” Martin said Friday morning at PNC Arena. “You never want to be out of the lineup. It is what it is, though. You go out there, you work hard, you get ready for your next opportunity.

“I’ll come here tonight, root the boys on, hopefully they get a win.”