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2014 Season Review: Martin Jones

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Harry How

Martin Jones Save Percentage, Career

Shots Against Goals Against Save Percentage
AHL 4245 342 0.919
NHL 507 33 0.935
(Totals combine regular season and playoff numbers.)

Positives

After years of posting solid AHL numbers, Martin Jones finally made his NHL debut this year and impressed in a handful of starts. It's a bit silly to cut up his already-tiny NHL sample even more, but Jones was great at 5v5 (.946 SV%) and even managed a .903 SV% on scoring chances against. Best of all, Jones did this while counting for just $550,000 against the cap.

While his gaudy NHL SV% is almost certainly a small-sample size fluke, Jones' AHL numbers are an encouraging sign that he will be a legitimate NHL goalie. 4,245 shots is a pretty fair-sized AHL sample (at that point it's very likely more talent than randomness), but unfortunately it's hard to say how a .919 at the AHL level translates to the NHL. The research I've seen suggests SV% definitely needs to be adjusted downwards, maybe by around .07, but no one is quite sure. I'd say Martin Jones' AHL numbers suggest a league-average NHL goalie or slightly worse, which is nice for an inexpensive backup.

Negatives

I don't have any complaints about his play with the Kings - everything he was asked to do, he did well. I'll say again that his NHL numbers are not sustainable. The rule of thumb for goalie evaluation is that at the 3000 shot mark, SV% is roughly half luck and half talent. Jones' NHL sample was a sixth of that size, so yeah, variance is going to swamp everything. Jones is extremely unlikely to ever post a SV% that high again, and I doubt he is an NHL star in the making. But there's a lot of room for him to regress and still be a good backup goalie.

Highlight

Jones stops 9 consecutive Ducks in the shootout. I know, I know, it'd be more impressive if he did it against NHL caliber opposition. Still, not bad.

Roman Emperor Comparable: Theodosius I

Theodosius I (379-395) spent most of his reign in the Eastern Empire, rising to power after the Goths killed the emperor Valens at the Battle of Adrianople in 378. Theodosius inherited a basically impossible situation - the Eastern field army annihilated, a massive Gothic horde loose in the empire - and did a decent job salvaging it. He was forced to allow many Goths to settle as a unified, mostly autonomous group within Roman territory, which would have major negative consequences down the road.

In 394 instability in the other half of the empire forced Theodosius to march his armies West. His army (at this point composed largely of Gothic mercenaries) met the forces of the usurper Eugenius in modern-day Slovenia. Theodosius's initial attacks were bloodily repulsed, and his position began to look hopeless by the second day. Then a massive windstorm called the bora kicked up, blowing straight into the faces of Eugenius's men and providing the opportunity Theodosius needed to crush his opponent. Theodosius emerged as sole ruler of the Roman Empire but died of dropsy just four months later.

The bora was incredibly lucky for Theodosius, and Martin Jones probably also had good fortune this year. Regression hit Theodosius pretty hard. Hopefully Jones fares a bit better.

Going Forward

Jones will be the backup goalie next year, and might have some extra work early in the season if Jonathan Quick is slow recovering from wrist surgery. Jones hit restricted free agency after 2014-15. I'm guessing his price will stay low enough that he could serve as Quick's backup for a few more years.

Grade

A. Jones wasn't given a chance to make a big impact this year, but in his few opportunities he performed about as well as could possibly be hoped.