Jones, the Sharks, and fantasy owners alike should be pleased with the netminder’s 2016-17 campaign despite the disappointment of being eliminated by the upstart Edmonton Oilers in Round 1 of the playoffs. Though he experienced a marginal decrease in numbers when it comes to wins, GAA, and save percentage, Jones performed well while assuming the third heaviest workload for a goaltender in the League. San Jose recognizes Jones’ current status as a legitimate No. 1 goalie and, at just 27 years of age, his potential to become a top-5 goalie in the NHL. With that in mind, Jones inked a six-year extension during the summer, which firmly establishes him as the Sharks’ netminder for years to come. While San Jose isn't considered a serious contender for the Stanley Cup and lost Patrick Marleau to Toronto in free agency, Team Teal should qualify for the postseason with their remaining offense firepower and Jones’ backstopping ability. Also, with an unproven backup in Aaron Dell behind Jones, he should be in line for another 60-plus starts in 2017-18.
Brought in from Los Angeles prior to last season, Jones seized a golden opportunity to become a bonafide No. 1 NHL netminder and never looked back. A career backup with less than 30 NHL starts under his belt, the British Columbia native was rolled out for a whopping 65 starts (fifth most in the NHL), delighting fantasy owners that rolled the dice on him with a 37-23-4 record, 2.27 GAA and .918 save percentage, not to mention six shutouts – second only to Chicago’s Corey Crawford . Jones further cranked things up in the playoffs, posting a 2.16 GAA and .923 save percentage en route to backstopping the Sharks to within two wins of their first ever Stanley Cup title. Heading into this season, the Sharks will have a bit of a target on their backs given their triumph over the rest of the Western Conference in 2015-16, but as long as Jones can handle the rigors of another 60-plus starts and doesn’t regress too much now that the rest of the league has a larger sample size for their scouting reports, the 26-year-old should again be one of the top fantasy options between the pipes.
Jones did a lot of bouncing around in a short time this offseason. Following a bit of a down season as Jonathan Quick's backup, the Kings dealt him to the Bruins, who traded the restricted free agent to the Sharks, who in turn signed Jones up on a three-year deal. Now he'll battle Alex Stalock for starting duties, and although the incumbent is a narrow favorite going in, it's hard not to like Jones to beat the odds. He's generally dominated at every level of hockey, never posting a save mark under .911 since age 17 until last year's .906. Jones is also bigger and younger than Stalock, and the long-term commitment the Kings made suggests they've got plans for him. Draft him cheap and enjoy the bounce-back year.
Jones was spectacular for the Kings when Jonathan Quick went down with a groin strain in December, going 8-0 with a 0.96 GAA and a .966 save percentage to start his career. He slipped a bit in his last dozen starts or so, probably because of exhaustion, but still gave the Kings a very capable backup the rest of the way. Quick's going to get a heavy workload, but Jones could command a bit more playing time if he can continue his development as the backup in LA.
Jones had a solid season at Manchester of the AHL (27-25-4, 2.53 GAA, .919 save percentage) despite some midseason struggles and is the team's top netminding prospect with Jonathan Bernier and Jeff Zatkoff both out of the picture. Jonathan Quick's contract extension certainly puts a dent into whatever long-term value he may have had with the Kings, but he could challenge for the backup job in two years. For now, he's likely headed back to the AHL with Ben Scrivens in the fold to back up Quick.
Jones split time with fellow prospect Jeff Zatkoff in Manchester's goal last year and remains a solid prospect despite seeing his numbers slip just a bit (2.60 GAA, .919 save percentage in 41 games). Jones would seem to be the next in line for backup duties if the Kings were to trade Jonathan Bernier after Zatkoff signed a deal with the Penguins in the offseason.
Jones wrestled away the starting netminder job from Jeff Zatkoff for Manchester in the AHL with a dazzling 12-2-0 record through December before struggling down the stretch with an 11-10-1 streak in his last 22 starts. He'll get another crack at the starting job in Manchester looking to build off his solid, albeit inconsistent, season (23-12-1, .924 save percentage, 2.25 GAA) for the Monarchs.