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The Daily Chum: Should Aaron Dell back up Martin Jones?

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You tell me. I just work here.

NHL: Preseason-San Jose Sharks at Vancouver Canucks Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

We (mostly) know how the Sharks will look to start the 2016-17 season — or at least we have a good idea who will make up the team. One hole still waiting to be filled? The backup goaltender. Alex Stalock isn’t coming back, nor is James Reimer so the Sharks will be looking elsewhere for next season’s backup.

Since San Jose didn’t ink anyone (yet) in free agency, Aaron Dell looks like the likely successor. He played the past two seasons in the AHL and posted perfectly fine numbers while there. The true benefit to using Dell is the cost: just $575,000 if he plays in the NHL.

So would Dell be a suitable backup? Let’s look at the numbers.

In two seasons (3,821 minutes) Dell made 1,769 saves on 1,914 shots for a save percentage of .924. How does that compare to your average NHL goaltender’s AHL numbers? Let’s start by looking at Sharks’ starter Martin Jones.

In well over 8,000 minutes, Jones put up a .921 save percentage for the Manchester Monarchs. That’s respectable and of course comes with a much larger sample size behind it. I’m not ready to say Dell will end up becoming a better NHL goaltender than Jones (I doubt it very much) but he’s certainly done enough to earn a shot at the backup job.

So what happens if it doesn’t work out? The Sharks have no depth beyond Dell and don’t particularly have the salary cap space to go outside the organization without making another move. If Tommy Wingels does end up getting moved then the Sharks can acquire a veteran backup but won’t have too many options.

Most of the sexy options, such as they are, have already been taken off the market. Here’s a list of the unrestricted free agent goaltenders from General Fanager. It’s not great, but there are some netminders on here that could do a job for the Sharks if need be.

Karri Ramo would be okay, but my hope still lies with Jhonas Enroth. The Kings backup from a year ago boasts a .911 save percentage in 147 NHL games compared to Ramo’s .906 in 156 contests. Dan Ellis is also an option if the Sharks are looking for a slightly cheaper version of Ramo.

None of the options are enticing, so the Sharks almost certainly hope that Dell can handle the backup load this season. If not, San Jose does have a bit of a safety net in free agency — but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Doug Wilson take the safe route and sign a veteran ahead of training camp anyway.

So, I guess to answer my question in a roundabout way: Yeah, I think Dell has earned a shot. What happens from there will depend entirely on his play, and my guess is he’ll have a shorter leash than the one given to Stalock.