Sharks remain undecided on Jones, future at goalie

Martin Jones

The Sharks left longtime goalie Martin Jones unprotected in the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft this week, but the 31-year-old unsurprisingly went unselected by the NHL's newest franchise. Sharks general manager Doug Wilson told reporters following Wednesday night's announcement that the team hasn't made any firm decisions on Jones' future with San Jose or any other potential additions to the position this offseason.

"We're still exploring our goaltending situation, we haven't made any decisions at this point," Wilson told reporters Wednesday night. "We will have to in due time, we certainly went out and added Adin Hill, and he was a focus for us because of the type of goalie he is, the age group, where we think he's going, and his style of play.

"But there's no doubt that we will continue to look at our goaltending and our situation and make those choices in the next week or so."

Hill was acquired just hours before the NHL's deadline to set rosters and deliver protected player lists for the Kraken's Expansion Draft. The Sharks sent young netminder Josef Korenar and a 2022 second-round draft pick to the Arizona Coyotes in exchange for Hill and a 2022 seventh-round selection.

Jones came under some scrutiny in 2021, as his save percentage once again ended up at .896 for the third consecutive year, and Jones' goals against average also was a career-high 3.28.

Hill was solid for the Coyotes in limited action last season, posting a .918 save percentage over 19 appearances, the most games he has played in over a single season in his brief career. In his availability following the trade for Hill, Wilson cited his age and size (6-foot-6) as major factors for going after the goalie.

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Jones has three full seasons remaining on his six-year, $34.5 million contract, and the Sharks likely wouldn't have any takers for a potential trade unless they sweetened the deal with a draft pick.

The Sharks also have 23-year-old Alexei Melnichuk, who saw limited time in goal at the NHL level in 2021. Melnichuk saved just 86.4 of the shots against him, and allowed 5.05 goals per game, albeit in a three-game sample size.

Holding eight total selections, the Sharks also could address the position in Friday's entry draft.

Wilson didn't exactly provide much faith in Jones from his comments Wednesday, and it remains to be seen whether the Sharks will try to buy him out and move on or see if he can recapture the form San Jose saw during his first three seasons with the team, in which he was a top-eight finisher in Vezina trophy voting.