Sharks

Jones in line for big raise if Sharks can get him signed

jones-martin-teal-ref.jpg
USATI

Jones in line for big raise if Sharks can get him signed

One of the more important items on general manager Doug Wilson’s agenda this offseason is signing goalie Martin Jones to a long-term contract extension. Wilson has already called it a priority to get something done with the 27-year-old who has established himself as one of the league’s better starters, after Jones helped the Sharks reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2016 and made his first appearance in the NHL All-Star Game in 2017.

How much could Jones – who is set to enter the final year of his three-year, $9 million deal – stand to make? There have already been a couple notable goalie contracts handed out since the regular season ended, providing an indication.

Simply put, Jones, who would be unrestricted in 2018, is in line to get a healthy raise.

* * *

Last week, the goalie-starved Dallas Stars acquired Ben Bishop’s rights from the Los Angeles Kings, and promptly signed him to a six-year, $29.5 million contract ($4.92 AAV).

Bishop has more experience than Jones as a starter, but the vital numbers are similar. In 270 career games, Bishop has a 2.32 goals-against average and .919 save percentage, while Jones has a 2.27 GAA and .916 career save percentage in 164 games.

Bishop and Jones also have comparable – and solid – playoff numbers. While Bishop is 21-13 with a 2.09 GAA and .927 SP in the postseason, Jones is 16-14 with a 2.01 GAA and .925 SP. In the first round against Edmonton, Jones was hardly the reason the Sharks lost in six games, as he got just seven goals of support in games not including the 7-0 Sharks blowout win in Game 4.

The biggest difference between Bishop and Jones is age, as the 30-year-old Bishop is more than three years older. That should make the Sharks goalie more valuable, as he’s entering the prime years of his career.

The other contract to look at is Scott Darling. The backup to Corey Crawford in Chicago was dealt to Carolina on April 28, and promptly signed a four-year, $16.6 million contract. He’ll presumably take over the starter’s role there.

While Darling put up some good numbers in Chicago – he’s 39-17-9 with a 2.37 GAA and .923 SP in his career – he’s still just played 75 games in the NHL in front of one of the best teams in the league over that span. That he signed a contract with a $4.15 AAV is indicative of how much NHL teams are willing to pay for good goaltending, even if those goaltenders haven’t yet proved themselves as a number one.

Jones, who has proven himself after the Sharks took a similar chance, has already expressed his desire to sign a long-term deal with San Jose. There’s no reason to believe there are any major obstacles to getting something done.

Based on what has happened so far this summer, the guess here is Jones’ average annual salary settles somewhere in the $5.5 – $6 million range if a multi-year deal is struck, as he's simply more valuable than either Bishop or Darling.

Talks are allowed to begin on July 1.

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

Two Donskoi goals not enough as Sharks fall to Ducks in shootout

BOX SCORE

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — Antoine Vermette beat goalie Martin Jones in the ninth round of a shootout to give the Anaheim Ducks a 3-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks on Monday night.

Corey Perry, Cam Fowler and Brandon Montour also scored during the tiebreaker for Anaheim.

Joonas Donskoi, Tim Heed and Brent Burns had shootout goals for the Sharks. Tomas Hertl missed his attempt in the ninth round, leaving Vermette a chance to win it.

Perry and Rickard Rakell scored in regulation for the Ducks. Reto Berra made 40 saves in his first start of the season.

Donskoi had two goals for the Sharks, including the tying score in the third period. Jones stopped 28 shots.

Donskoi helped create his own goal by knocking the puck away from a Ducks defender and getting it to Logan Couture for a give-and-go as the Sharks took a 1-0 lead 3:31 into the game.

The Ducks came back in the second period to even the score 45 seconds in. After winning a faceoff in the San Jose zone, Brandon Montour sent a sharp pass to Perry's stick. Perry settled it and fired into the net for the equalizer.

Rakell gave the Ducks a 2-1 advantage midway through the second, just as a power play ended. Perry took a shot that bounced off Jones' pads, and Rakell knocked it into the net before Jones could cover up.

The Sharks snapped an 0-for-17 streak on the power play with a goal midway through the third to tie it. Donskoi tracked down a rebound and flipped it off Berra's right pad and into the net for his second career multi-goal game.

NOTES: Ducks D Cam Fowler returned to action after missing 12 games with a knee injury. ... Sharks C Melker Karlsson missed the game with an upper-body injury. ... Sharks forward Kevin Labanc, who hasn't played much recently, started on the top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. Donskoi was moved to the second line. ... Ducks G Ryan Miller missed the game with a lower-body injury. Berra made his fourth appearance this season. ... Perry has seven points in his last five games. ... Rakell has a point in seven of his past eight games, with a total of 11 during that span. ... The Sharks scored their second power-play goal in eight November games.

UP NEXT

Ducks: Host the Vegas Golden Knights on Wednesday.

Sharks: Play at the Arizona Coyotes on Wednesday.

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

sharks_young_guns_.jpg
USATSI

Young Sharks fitting in, not neccessarily standing out

 

The message for the San Jose Sharks’ prospects was quite clear this offseason.

After general manager opted not to re-sign Patrick Marleau, or sign any free agents of consequence, it was readily apparent the Sharks would need to rely on their young players to fill any holes.

Before the quarter mark of the season, that youth movement is underway. Five first or second-year players will suit up at SAP Center Monday night against Anaheim. 

Partially, the infusion is due to injury, as Barclay Goodrow, Melker Karlsson, and Paul Martin are all on the mend. But as the season wears on, the young players’ presence is becoming a necessity. 

Joakim Ryan looks like a natural fit alongside Brent Burns, and the Sharks are a decidedly better puck possession team with him on the ice than when he’s not. Tim Heed leads Sharks defensemen in scoring, and Danny O’Regan assisted San Jose’s lone goal in his season debut on Saturday. 

That assist set up the goal that ended Timo Meier’s drought, and he looks primed to break out: he’s third on the team in five-on-five shots despite playing the ninth-fewest five-on-five minutes this season, according to Corsica Hockey.  Kevin Labanc’s cooled off since his scorching start, but is still tied for sixth on the team in scoring and skated on the top line at Monday’s morning skate, according to the Bay Area News Group’s Curtis Pashelka.

There’s still room for improvement, of course. Labanc and Meier could stand to score more, but the same can be said about most everyone else. Ryan’s made his fair share of mistakes, but Burns has struggled plenty of times alongside him, too. 

So the young players are fitting in, even if all of them aren’t necessarily standing out. That shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise. 

Meier’s the only first-round pick of the lot, but he’s also only been able to legally buy a beer for a month. Ryan and Heed have made the best adjustment, in no small part because they’re the oldest (24 and 26, respectively) of the Barracuda call-ups, and thus have the most professional experience. 

Of course, fitting in isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It is, however, far from ideal, when that’s what many other players on the roster are doing. 

Having all of their young players stand out is what will ultimately make the Sharks stand out from the rest of the pack. It hasn’t quite happened yet, and San Jose’s one of 22 teams separated by six points or fewer. 

And if it doesn’t, the middle of the pack is where the Sharks will remain.