High Hopes Surrounding Sharks G Martin Jones


The San Jose Sharks‘ front office decided not to bring back goalie Antti Niemi for the 2015-2016 season and instead went out and acquired goalie Martin Jones from the Boston Bruins for a 2016 first-round pick in the offseason. Jones has not disappointed one bit in the preseason and should allow Sharks fans to be excited for the potential of the team entering the new season.

Following Niemi’s five seasons with the Sharks and his 2.40 GAA and .917 save percentage, Jones’ career 1.99 GAA and .923 save percentage could be a huge difference that an aging Sharks roster needs direly.

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San Jose Sharks return to the tank to face the Winnipeg Jets
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  • Jones finished off his preseason with a 30-save shutout against the Arizona Coyotes on Friday night in a 3-0 Sharks victory over their Pacific Division rival. Following his performance against the Coyotes, Jones moved to 3-1-0 in preseason action with a 0.76 goals against average and a .970 save percentage. Jones’ GAA mark is the lowest amongst NHL goalies with at least four pre-season appearances.

    Similarly to Niemi, who won a Stanley Cup with the Chicago Blackhawks, Jones comes to San Jose with a Stanley Cup championship with the Los Angeles Kings in 2014. Jones is entering his age-25 season and has yet to be the front-line goalie in his NHL career after starting just 29 games in his first two seasons. Although Niemi’s playoff experience never translated into San Jose reaching their first Stanley Cup Finals, Jones has a chance to change the pattern.

    Jones was one of the top back-up goalies in the NHL in 2013 with the Kings as he went 12-6-0 in 18 starts, while posting four shutouts. 13 of Jones’ 18 starts were “quality starts” which is defined as starts where the goaltender’s save percentage is higher than his season average, or when the goalie posts at least an 88.5 percent save percentage when facing at least 20 shots. 53.3 percent of starts by NHL goalies is the average for quality starts, whereas Jones posted quality starts in 72.2 percent of his starts. Jones’ quality start mark was good for fourth in the NHL amongst goalies who started at least 18 games.

    Alex Stalock figures to make a decent amount of appearances between the pipes for San Jose this season as well. Stalock has 49 appearances in the past four seasons for the Sharks and holds a 21-14-5 career record with a 2.23 GAA and a .917 save percentage, with 62.2 percent of his starts being quality starts. The timeshare between the two netminders should sway slightly into Jones’ favor, but Stalock will be a prominent figure in the goaltending department as well for San Jose.

    Although the Ducks are the team to beat in the Pacific Division, if Jones brings his A-game, or anything somewhat similar to his preseason game, to the rink on a nightly basis the Sharks, could very well be a dark horse in the Pacific and a threat to be reckoned with come playoff time. Hopes are high entering the season, which can’t be anything but a good feeling for Sharks’ fans after the past few down years.

    Next: Matt Duffy Wins Willie Mac Award