An NHL Network panel ranked San Jose Sharks goaltender Martin Jones as the ninth-best goalie in the league entering the 2017-18 season.
"He's very quiet in the net," NHL Network analyst E.J. Hradek said. "When he's at his best, he's not running outside the crease, he's not chasing pucks. He's in that blue paint, very structured. It's hard when you compare anybody to Carey Price, but I can see the comparison because of the fact of the size and the quietness of his game."
The full ranking is as follows:
- Carey Price, Montreal Canadiens
- Braden Holtby, Washington Capitals
- Sergei Bobrovsky, Columbus Blue Jackets
- Matt Murray, Pittsburgh Penguins
- Devan Dubnyk, Minnesota Wild
- Jonathan Quick, Los Angeles Kings
- Cam Talbot, Edmonton Oilers
- Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers
- Pekka Rinne, Nashville Predators
In two seasons as San Jose’s starter, Jones is 72-46-10 with eight shutouts, a 2.33 goals against average, and a .915 save percentage. His 130 starts over that span are the most in the league, and his 72 wins are tied for second with Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk.
His workload does, but his save percentage in San Jose isn’t indicative of his placement on the NHL Network’s list. Jones’ save percentage over that span is tied for 24th among 45 goaltenders that played a minimum of 3,000 minutes in net over the last two seasons, according to Hockey Reference. His .916 even strength save percentage this past season ranked 41st among the top 50 goaltenders in minutes played, per Puck Base.
Jones has been demonstrably better in a smaller sample size in the postseason, which likely played a role in his selection. The recently re-signed netminder went 16-14, with four shutouts, a 2.08 goals against average, and a .925 save percentage in the playoffs over the last two seasons. Jones back-stopped the Sharks to their first every Stanley Cup Final appearance in 2016.
The numbers may not indicate top ten performance, but Jones has the trust of San Jose’s management and players. General Manager Doug Wilson told reporters last month when Jones re-signed that the team enjoys playing in front of him, which he called the “ultimate compliment for a goalie.” Teammates have felt that way about Jones since his first two seasons in Los Angeles, according to NHL Network analyst and ex-NHL goaltender Kevin Weekes.
“Everybody loves playing in front of that guy,” Weekes said about Jones. “All the guys with the [Los Angeles] Kings that I spoke to loved playing with and for him. [Ex-Kings Head Coach] Darryl Sutter had nothing but praise for him. So I give him a lot of credit for taking his game to new heights as a true number one.”
Jones slipped one spot from last year’s ranking, when he was ranked the eighth-best goaltender in the league. Notably missing from this year’s list are Chicago Blackhawks goaltender Corey Crawford and New Jersey Devils goaltender Cory Schneider, who finished seventh and fifth, respectively, last year. Schneider struggled in 2016-17, but Crawford’s even strength save percentage last season (.930) was better than all but four of the NHL Network’s top ten.
What do you think of Martin Jones’ ranking?
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