The Philadelphia Flyers fulfilled their need for a second goalie — thanks to the San Jose Sharks — and agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with Martin Jones on Wednesday. The deal is one of many by the Flyers on an active first day of free agency.
Jones’ previous contract was a six-year deal worth $34.5 million with the Sharks — signed in 2017 and would have expired after the 2023-24 season — but the team bought out the rest of his contract and the netminder was free to sign with the team of his choosing.
Related: 2021 Free Agency Tracker
The 8-year veteran also played for the Los Angeles Kings, breaking into the league with them during the 2013-14 season.
Jones Started Strong, But His Numbers Steadily Dropped
Jones has traditionally been thought of as one of the NHL’s better goalies, not surprising considering he helped the Sharks to the 2016 Stanley Cup Final after going 14-10 with a 2.16 Goals-Against Average (GAA), .923 save percentage, and three shutouts. His numbers started to dip during the 2018-19 season, though he did post a 36-19-5 record despite a .896 save percentage that season.
The 6-foot-4, 190 pound goalie has a large frame and good vision, so his declining numbers (3.00 GAA in 2019-20, 3.28 GAA in 2020-21) have come as a surprise. Sharks GM Doug Wilson indicated a heavier workload may have taken its toll on the veteran netminder — he started 252 games from 2015-2019.
Fit With the Flyers
The deal is good for both parties for a number of reasons. For starters, Philadelphia has now established its goalie tandem, along with Carter Hart, who did struggle at times last season. The team allowed a league-high 3.52 goals in per game, and will benefit from Jones’ experience.
The Flyers also receive a battle-tested goalie with extensive playoff experience, considering Jones not only backstopped the Sharks to the Final just a few years ago, but he was also Jonathan Quick’s backup goalie during the Kings’ championship run in the 2013-14 season.
In the end, the deal makes sense for both, and leaves plenty of wiggle room for re-evaluation after the season. For now, though, the Flyers’ goalie tandem appears to be set heading into next year.
A die-hard hockey fan in the desert, and proud Iowa State alum. Detroit Red Wings and Arizona Coyotes contributor for The Hockey Writers.