It's no mystery what the Sharks' weakness was last season.
San Jose set a franchise record with 289 regular-season goals, tied for the second-most in the league. The problem was, they allowed 258, the most of any playoff team.
Martin Jones is coming off the worst season of his career, in which he posted an .896 save percentage and 2.94 goals against average. He wasn't much better in 20 postseason games, with a slightly better save percentage (.898) and slightly worse GAA (3.02).
So, it comes as no surprise that Jones didn't rank highly in The Athletic's 2019-20 Goalie Tiers.
An anonymous 17-person panel consisting of seven NHL general managers, four NHL head coaches, three assistant GMs and three goalie coaches rated every starting goalie on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 representing a goalie who should challenge for the Vezina Trophy, and a 5 representing goalies who shouldn't be starters. The results were averaged, then sorted into tiers.
According to that panel, Jones was rated as the No. 23 overall netminder in the league, closer to the bottom of tier 3 than the top of it.
"He had the lowest save percentage in the NHL last year. Where would you rank him?” One of the anonymous executives questioned. “Jones is a better goalie than we’ve seen. I was surprised how his year went last year."
"It’s amazing what San Jose did with him (in goal)," a head coach responded.
"They played good defensively and he was (bad)," another coach summarized. "He’s had good moments. But he just didn’t stop pucks. I like the way he looks but he just doesn’t stop pucks."
Like I said, no mystery.
If San Jose is going to compete for the Stanley Cup this coming season, chances are the Sharks will need Jones to perform better than the No. 23 overall goalie in the league. They have lost more than 20 percent of their regular-season goal total from last season after Joe Pavelski, Joonas Donskoi and Gustav Nyquist departed in free agency, and with little in the way of obvious replacements on the roster, it seems unlikely San Jose will find the back of the net as often as it did a year ago.
Assuming the Sharks don't, they'll have to make up the difference elsewhere, and that's where Jones comes in.