Playing in his home country of Czechoslovakia, Martin Straka played in the 1991 World Junior Championships where he collected a bronze medal and became a highly touted draft pick. The Pittsburgh Penguins selected Straka in the first round of the 1992 NHL Entry Draft. Before heading to the NHL, Straka was named to the Czechoslovakian all-star team in 1992 and went back to the World Juniors.
He made his NHL debut in the 1992-93 season; one season after the Penguins had won back-to-back Stanley Cups. Straka's rookie season was not topped off with a Cup celebration, though he did see his first action in the playoffs while playing a handful of games for the team's IHL affiliate in Cleveland. After two more seasons in Pittsburgh, including his first appearance at the World Championships in 1994, Straka was traded to Ottawa where he finished out the 1994-95 season. He was dealt once again the next season, this time to the New York Islanders, who lost him to Florida after they put him on waivers, as the Panthers were gearing up for a run at the Cup. The underdog Panthers went all the way to the finals, but ran into a brick wall when the Colorado Avalanche stormed past them in four games to take the Cup.
A member of the Czech Republic's World Cup team in 1996, Straka played one more season in Florida, before going back to the team that drafted him, signing with Pittsburgh as a free agent in 1997. Straka was now joined with Jaromir Jagr and enjoyed great success over the years, including an Olympic gold medal for his home country Czechoslovakia in the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
Although considered a small player in the NHL, Straka makes great moves on the ice and has the canny ability to score goals as well as set up his teammates. The 2000-01 season saw him collect career highs in assists (68) and points (95) and helped the Penguins reach the Eastern Conference finals.
A member of the Czech Republic Olympic team in 2002, injuries plagued Straka over the course of two seasons limiting him to a mere 73 games in 2001-02 and 2002-03. Following his second stint with Pittsburgh, Straka was dealt to the Los Angeles Kings in the early stages of the 2003-04 NHL season. Upon his arrival with the Kings, injuries yet again limited the talented centerman to a mere 22 games. After failing to make the playoffs, the Kings forward was named to the Czech Republic's World Championship team and later that fall suited up for them again at the World Cup of Hockey.
With the 2004-05 NHL season washed out, Straka made his third World Championship appearance and was a key player in the club's gold medal victory over Canada.
IIn the summer of 2005, Straka was acquired by the New York Rangers. Mid-way through the 2005-06 season Straka represented his homeland in the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin. The following season Straka appeared in 77 games with the Rangers and was nearly a point-a-game player. However, his point production dipped during the 2007-08 season when he scored 14 goals and 27 assists.
Straka decided to leave the NHL in the summer of 2008 to become the Sports Director of his former former Czech club, HC Lasselsberger Plzen.