After a lackluster 2018 – 2019 campaign the San Jose Sharks desperately need a bounce back year from their starting netminder Martin Jones.
The San Jose Sharks compiled 101 points and finished second overall in the Western Conference in spite of having the league’s worst team save percentage all strengthes and at 5v5.
Team Teal’s high-powered possession heavy offensive attack outpaced opponents enough to off-set the lackluster performance from both of their goalkeepers. But now with all the questions surrounding the loss of some crucial players who were essential to the Sharks offensive strategy. It appears that the Sharks will likely be leaning on Martin Jones a bit more this upcoming season.
A number of things hindered Martin Jones last year resulting in a disappointing regular season. Whether that be the new defensive structure in front of him, poor health, or a glaring flaw in his game that opponents have identified the Sharks starter couldn’t figure things out in 2018 – 2019.
The 29-year-old ended the 2018 – 2019 regular season with a .896 save percentage which was far below the league average of .905. Despite the current opinions pertaining to Jones this is out of character for the traditionally steady goaltender. In the previous 3 seasons he posted an admirable .915 SV% at all strengths while seeing a ton of usage between the pipes starting in 190 NHL games.
Jones got the start in 62 games last season which was just off from his average of around 63.3(as a shark), so it’s tough to say if he got overworked by the coaching staff. Nevertheless the goalie had the 2nd worst GSAA (-22.87) in the entire league (only behind Jonathan Quick).
This isn’t to say that the Sharks couldn’t have done more to limit the number of quality chances that got sent his way over the course of the season. Team Teal allowed the 2nd most HDCF at 5v5 last year, but limited opponents to the 2nd least corsi-against during the same style of play, per naturalstatrick.
Essentially the Sharks high risk style of play where they utilize their offensively gifted blueliners has its disadvantages. A substantial portion of the shots that Jones saw coming his way were 2 on 1’s, off the rush, in the dangerous areas of the ice, or all three.
Wherever your confidence level is on Martin Jones’ status as the starter for the San Jose Sharks, it’s hard to argue with the fact that San Jose didn’t play up to their standards defensively. Perhaps the return of Bob Boughner can help sort things out in front of the netminder giving him a few more stoppable pucks that might boost his confidence.
Martin Jones is arguably the most important player on the Sharks roster coming into next season. With the loss of a lot offensive fire power it’s tough to say if Team Teal will be able to outscore many mistakes made in net by Jones. They’ll need at least a league average performance from the goalie who’s coming into his 5th season as San Jose’s starter.
It’ll be a team effort by the San Jose to help to give the soft-spoken goalkeeper the opportunity to bounce back from what was a disheartening 2018 – 2019. But ultimately it will be up to Martin Jones to salvage his reputation among the Sharks coaching staff and fans alike.