This is part one of a multi-part series with Greg Balloch of InGoalMag.com.
I had a chance to talk to Greg Balloch of InGoalMag.com about the rise of Martin Jones with the Sharks and what makes his style effective in the NHL. I'll have the next part about this up in the next few days where he'll talk about the resurgence of James Reimer. On to the Q&A!
What do you see from Martin Jones
"There's a few things that stand out to me in the NHL. I've put a lot of it out there on Twiter already, but for me it's just how his game has evolved over the years. He moved through the ranks pretty quickly, what gives his game an edge is his post-integration. So the way he uses his posts to move around the crease and to know where he is at all times in the net.
That aspect of his game is really what has gotten him to perform to this level. He never looks like he's panicking, he always knows where he is in the net because he uses that post to know where he is. He's very smooth in and out of that reverse-VH where he has one leg on the edge of the post to the blade of his skate is right up against the post.
So he'll spring out to the middle and I think that's huge for him because I don't think he's an elite play reader. I don't think he reads plays at a high level. It's a lot of stuff he can't react to or read against, cause he doesn't have that Jonathan Quick ability to really react to a quick developing play. So I think he doesn't really have to make that save cause he's already in the right position.
I hear people talk about Jones being from the "Quick school" of goalies — is there actually anything to that?
When you see that it's a combination of things. The term for it is shadowing so goalies will actually start to pick up habits from goalies they work with a lot. I think if they're with a goalie coach that has a big impact and they'll pick up some habits from the other guy they work with.
Coming up through the system, the Kings are pretty good with their goaltending development. They have a pretty good plan. They've done a really good job bringing in extra coaches that aren't with the NHL team all the time which goes a long way. You look at how Quick and the way Jones came along. It pays off.
People, at least North Americans, seem to really like "quiet goaltenders." When you're evaluating a goalie, is it tough to try to weed out your own personal preferences/biases from your evaluation?
There are certain style differences for sure, I think a lot of misconceptions get in the way. If you want to get to the heart of it, a lot of it comes from scouting. A lot of the time you don't have anyone who has played the position scouting it. I think there's a bias towards the "athletic goalie" making athletic save after athletic save.
Then you get a guy like Eric Comrie or Carey Price where you see there's not much scramble and you wouldn't say he's really athletic and he just doesn't have to be all the time because he's such a great technical goaltender. More European goalies tend to look more athletic because they have a riskier style which is more rhythm based. They force the shooter's hand a little more, a lot of coaches like that.
When you're scouting a guy the first thing you have to get out of the way is to get what his game plan is. You have to figure out what he's trying to play, and is he executing it well. They know what style works for them best cause they wouldn't get there if they hadn't figured it out. As a goalie coach, every coach has their tendencies on what they prefer to see in a goalie or what they what want to work with. A lot of time if you're coaching you're going to want a certain goalie that you can get to work in your mold a bit more. So it's a bit of a mixture when it comes to goalie scouting, so for me it kinda depends on what you're scouting for.
Personally I like the more Martin Jones style, because I'm not super huge on the rhythm based goalies because you see them play that style and it just works for them and they just understand the style. I think with Jones you're starting to see him become confident in his save selections but from what I've seen from this year he's seen.
You can also follow Greg on Twitter, which I recommend.