The San Jose Sharks are moving on from Martin Jones, right?
“Our goaltending has to be better,” GM Doug Wilson said in his recent exit interview.
Jones has an .896 Save % over the last three seasons, tied with Jonathan Quick for worst among all NHL goaltenders (75+ games). Safe to say, that needs to be better, and after three straight seasons of sub-.900 save percentages, better probably isn’t coming from Jones.
So au revoir, Martin?
If only it were that simple – Jones also has three years left on his contract, $5.75 million per. Nobody is trading for the full freight there unless you attach significant premiums – a couple sources recently suggested two first-round picks at minimum. Even trading part of Jones’s contract – San Jose can retain up to 50% of the cap hit – would cost the Sharks plenty.
That leaves, of course, the buyout.
This off-season, the NHL’s buyout window opens 48 hours after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final, so we’re looking at early to mid-July. The buyout will extract a heavy price from San Jose too, as two-thirds of Jones’s remaining salary is essentially divvied up over six seasons.
Per Puckpedia, here’s the buyout cap hit breakdown for Jones:
|Martin Jones, Buy-out||Cap Hit||Cap Savings|
That’s not pretty. So is there a scenario where it might make sense…to keep Jones?
For this thought exercise, let’s assume that with or without Jones, the San Jose Sharks will bring in a new starting-caliber netminder. Next, we’ll run through various potential cap hit scenarios, with or without Jones.
The 27-year-old UFA has put up some gaudy back-up numbers (.925 Save %) over the last two seasons. Bad news for Driedger, it was a tough market for free agents last off-season, and it figures to be more of the same this time around.
Here are some UFA comps for Driedger – successful back-up, unproven starter, insignificant playoff resume, expected to come in and be at least a 1B – from last off-season:
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