Martin Jones was not as good in his second season in teal as he was in his first. Once again relied upon for 65 starts, Jones’ save percentage dropped from .918 to .912 and his goals against average increased from 2.27 to 2.40.
This was largely attributable to a precipitous drop in even strength save percentage (.925 to .915, according to Hockey Reference). Jones’ faced more high danger chances than he did last season, and stopped a lower percentage (81.90 HDSV%, -1.66% from 2015-16 per Corsica).
Yet once again, Jones raised his game in the playoffs, where he was arguably the Sharks’ best player. In six postseason games, Jones posted a .948 even-strength save percentage, stealing Game 1 and nearly stealing Game 5 on the road in Edmonton.
Of course, those were but six of the 71 games that Jones played this year. Including the regular and postseasons, Jones was just 35th in the league among the 48 goaltenders who played over 1,000 minutes. in even strength save percentage.
His subpar regular season was still good enough to get the Sharks to the postseason, where Jones once again shined. But going forward, that’s likely not good enough for a team in transition like the Sharks.
2016-17 San Jose Sharks goaltenders SAVE chart (via Dispelling Voodoo)
Martin Jones Rolling 25-game even strength save percentage (via Corsica Hockey)
Martin Jones’ 26th and final save against the Arizona Coyotes on February 4th was easily his best, when he robbed Tobias Rieder with an athletic, pad-stacking, glove grab off of a two-on-one in overtime. San Jose blew a third period lead and lost in the shootout, but Jones kept them in position to win the game with this save.
What comes next?
San Jose views Jones as a top-end starter, when the numbers indicate he is closer to league average. Yes, you can point to his statistics in 30 postseason starts as his ceiling.
But even when incorporating playoff numbers, Jones is just 34th in even-strength save percentage (.9265, per Corsica) among goaltenders who have played at least 1000 minutes in the regular season and playoffs over the last two seasons, and 28th among that group since he entered the league in 2013-14.
Jones’ contract expires at the end of this season, and as we explored last week, Jones is likely due for an extension worth up to $6 million annually. General manager Doug Wilson has said re-signing Jones is a priority, but it’s worth questioning whether or not the Sharks would be better off spending that money elsewhere.