Martin Jones started 22 of the first 25 games of the Sharks season, or 88 percent for those not within reach of a calculator. By modern standards, head coach Pete DeBoer ran Jones into the ground in the first quarter of the season, but it doesn’t compare to Evgeni Nabokov’s 2007-08 campaign. The Russian played in 77, or 94 percent, of the Sharks’ regular season contests, while Jones is on pace to play in 72.
If Jones plays in 72 games this season (I doubt it) he would move into third place on the all-time Sharks list behind Nabokov in 2008 and Arturs Irbe in 1994 (74 games). A combination of Jones’ youth, durability and a (relatively) light schedule gave DeBoer built in excuses to start the Canadian again and again to start the Sharks’ season.
DeBoer could continue to start Jones at a high rate, but if the Sharks pull away in the Pacific Division, I bet he’ll ease off the throttle like he did in the stretch run of last season. Acquiring James Reimer had a lot to do with Jones getting days off in 2016, but the Sharks clinching a division title for the first time since 2011 would help. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Jones played in 65 games for the Sharks last season, enough to put him eighth on the franchise list. Nabokov holds four of the spots ahead of Jones, with Antti Niemi, Irbe and Steve Shields taking the other places. Oh, and Jones played in 89 total games last season, including the postseason. That leaves him one game behind Nabokov’s 2008 season (90) in the all time franchise record book. Sorry, Jones.
I was surprised to find Jones doesn’t have the most starts in the NHL this season. Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers holds that honor with 23 starts. Oh those Oilers. Both teams have played 25 games and the Oilers play their 26th game tonight against the Anaheim Ducks. For those curious: Jonas Gustavsson is Edmonton’s backup netminder.
Jones leads the NHL in wins (we can pretend that matters, whatever), is second in minutes, eighth in saves, tied for seventh in shutouts (2), fifth in goals against average (1.99) and 16th in save percentage (.924). Jones holds a .927 save percentage at even strength.
Oh, and in terms of minutes... Jones is on pace to play 4,155 minutes. That would only put him at fourth on the franchise list, behind Shields. So Jones needs to play a bit sharper to make sure he doesn’t need to be pulled at the end of games. 51 hours is a lot of work, but he’s going to need to hang out on the ice a bit longer if he wants to get any overtime pay.