Martin Jones started 42 of the first 50 games of the Sharks season, a whopping 84 percent of San Jose’s schedule. That’s up from 79 percent of last season and it has come with some raised eyebrows, particularly given how well backup Aaron Dell has played in the few starts he has gotten (.930 save percentage).
Jones isn’t worried about his playing time, for what it’s worth. That shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows the Sharks or any other NHL team. Guys want to play. What I found interesting was his reasoning for it: lack of practice.
“I feel fine,” said Jones. “Pete’s done a good job kind of managing off days and games with back to backs and having Deller play on the back to backs so I’m kind of having two days off when there’s a day off after that.”
That’s not entirely true, of course. Jones has played in a pair of back to backs, once in a home-road back to back against Arizona and Los Angeles and then in Toronto and Ottawa. Here’s what Jones said when I brought that up:
“Yeah (I’ve started both halves of a back to back) a couple of times,” said Jones. “Like I said Pete’s, he’s got a pretty good feel for when guys need a rest. I feel fine so far.”
Frankly, Jones isn’t going to say he’s tired or DeBoer isn’t managing his minutes correctly. We also don’t know enough about his stamina to know how his minutes now will affect his play down the road. The Sharks will continue to play Jones a lot thanks to a combination of faith in him and perhaps some skepticism of Aaron Dell’s true ability level. That might not be fair to Dell, but I think it speaks to faith in Jones more than it says anything about Jones.
Regardless, the thought of days off equating to extra games played is an interesting one. I don’t know how to back that up with data, especially because it likely varies from player to player. It’s an interesting thought, nonetheless.