Martin Jones will get the start in goal for the Sharks as they open the 2021 season Thursday night against the Arizona Coyotes from Gila River Arena.
But as NBC Sports California's Curtis Brown explained to Brodie Brazil, it shouldn't be expected that Jones now has secured the starting job for the duration of the season from offseason acquisition Devan Dubnyk.
"I think most teams that have success are actually going to be tandem goaltending style," Brown told Brazil. "Why? Because there's more back-to-back games than ever before, and I also think if you look back at the success had maybe in the last 12 or 18 months, most teams, I'm not saying all of them, but most teams are going to have to rely on both goaltenders, either because of injury, or performance, or schedule."
The ongoing pandemic also figures to throw a wrench into team rotations this season, as we've seen other major American sports deal with as they've started back up amid COVID-19.
Jones started 39 games in goal for the Sharks last season, while Aaron Dell, now with the Toronto Maple Leafs, got 30 starts.
Dubnyk started 28 games for the Minnesota Wild in 2019-20, finishing with a .890 save percentage.
Coach Bob Boughner said earlier in training camp that he expects both to play early in the season, but that someone eventually wins the job outright.
“Eventually we’ll get to that kind of rotation, I guess you could call it,” Boughner said. “But right now as we’re getting into training camp here, we believe we’ve got two good goalies. Two No. 1 goalies. We’re going to have to treat it that way, for the first little part I think.
“For both of these guys, it’s been so long since they both played that they both got to see games. I think there’s going to be a lot of flip-flopping and sharing the net early. Hopefully, one of those guys takes the net over.”
It might be ideal for the Sharks to have one of these two separate themselves as the season wears on, but as Brown noted, depth will be vital and Boughner's club might not be able to start their top guy each and every night.
Jones will get the first chance against a Coyotes squad which lost in the first round of the playoffs last season.