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Why Sharks need Martin Jones to outperform No. 23 overall goalie rating

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Why Sharks need Martin Jones to outperform No. 23 overall goalie rating

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.

[RELATED: Sharks goalie Jones 'really solid' in his preseason debut]

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.

How to watch 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show for Sharks live online

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NBC Sports California

How to watch 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show for Sharks live online

The NHL trade deadline is upon us, and rumors are flying everywhere. The Sharks are well out of the Western Conference playoff picture, and might be looking to sell off some of their best assets ahead of Monday’s deadline at noon PT.

It has been a nightmare season for San Jose, who almost certainly will miss the Stanley Cup playoffs for the first time since 2015. Significant injuries to captain Logan Couture, forward Tomas Hertl and defenseman Erik Karlsson, along with teamwide underachievement, plant the Sharks firmly in the “sellers” bucket heading into the deadline.

General manager Doug Wilson already has traded defenseman Brenden Dillon to the Washington Capitals and could be looking to make more moves as the deadline approaches.

“Sharks Pre and Postgame Live” host Brodie Brazil will join NHL experts from the NBC Sports regional networks to analyze the trade deadline on the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show, which will stream on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com. The show will air Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT, and you can join the conversation on Twitter using the hasting #NHLtradeNBC.

[RELATED: Everything Sharks fans need to know before trade deadline]

Here’s how you can watch the 2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show online.

Date: Monday, Feb. 24
Time: 11:30 a.m. PT
Live stream: MyTeams app and Desktop Stream

Sharks' Joe Thornton scores two goals amid NHL trade deadline rumors

Sharks' Joe Thornton scores two goals amid NHL trade deadline rumors

Certain names live in Bay Area sports lore, and Sharks legend Joe Thornton is one of them.

On Saturday, he reminded us why.

Thornton, 40, admitted earlier in the day to The Athletic's Kevin Kurz that he's tempted at the thought of joining a contender at Monday's NHL trade deadline. With the Sharks well out of the playoff picture, the team could look to help a franchise icon finally become a champion by dealing him elsewhere. 

“You know, it is [tempting],” Thornton said to Kurz. 

Thornton made it clear in his conversation with Kurz that he isn't ready to hang up his skates after this season, too. And in the Sharks' 3-2 loss to the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden later that night, Thornton showed he still has plenty left in the tank.

The 22-year veteran snapped a 50-game streak in the regular season without a goal on the road when he found the back of the net in the second period to tie it up at 1. The goal also was his first at MSG against the Rangers since Dec. 8, 2002, when he was 23 years old.

Throughout his career, Thornton has been known as an assist specialist as opposed to potting goals. He's the Sharks' all-time leader in helpers with 803, but he was thinking goal the whole way in the first period.

"Yeah, I saw the D-man just kind of sliding over a little bit for Timo [Meier], so I just wanted to make it hard, make it on the net. You never know what's gonna happen," Thornton told NBC Sports California's Jamie Baker during the first intermission. 

Thornton entered Saturday with a career-low two goals this season. In the second period, he doubled his season total with his second goal of the night to give San Jose a 2-1 lead.

Thornton's two-goal performance made him the oldest to do it since Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins in October 2018. Thornton also became the third player in NHL history to be at least 40 years old and have a two-goal game at MSG. 

[RELATED: Thornton tempted to join contender at NHL trade deadline]

"The second one just -- Burns' shot just tipped off my knee pad, so just at the right place at the right time," Thornton humbly told reporters after the game.

Whether it's to help mentor San Jose's young roster during an injury-plagued season or if he joins a contender before the deadline, Thornton proved under the brightest lights that this Shark still can skate with the best of them. The legacy lives on, and it's far from over.

Programming Note: The "2020 NHL Trade Deadline Show" is coming your way Monday at 11:30 a.m. PT on the MyTeams app and on NBCSportsBayArea.com! How will the Sharks be impacted heading into the noon deadline? Don’t miss it!