Martin Jones He was awarded his third star of the week by the NHL. If you read the press release, that credits the goalkeeper’s strong performances in the Kraken’s last two games – both overtime wins.
But if you’ve been paying attention, you know Jones deserves credit for so much more than that. He was a huge part of the team’s success after taking over as the starter during it Philip Grobauer He was recovering from an injury.
“It adds an element to our defense that we have a lot of confidence in.” Jared McCann He said. He’s like, ‘Oh, he’s going to save and we’ll go easy on this. “It gives us that confidence.”
How good is Jones?
Let’s dig in.
Through 15 games played, according to Sportlogiq, Jones has had 10 good starts (the most of any NHL goaltender this year) and 1 shutout. He is sixth in the league in goals blocked of equal power that should have been made (7.17 goals saved above expectations, according to Evolution-Hockey.com). If we adjust that per 60 minutes of play, Jones’ goal save percentage of .62 more than expected basically matches the best year of his career (.63 GSAx, 2013-14).
In fact, if we look at all 411 NHL games the North Vancouver native has played in, two of the top 15 games of his career were in the last month (11The tenth: 2.57 GSAx vs. Pittsburgh, Oct. 29; 12The tenth:2.56 GSAx vs Winnipeg, Nov. 13).
“The numbers are really good for Johnny if you look at his last 8, 9 and 10 games,” said Dave Huxtol. “There is a reason our team is growing in confidence, and the balls are not only the size of the saves and the numbers, but the saves are made at the right time.”
To this point, it’s about quality but it’s also about punctuality. If we look at the 25 most dangerous shots Jones has faced this season based on shot quality (and we can do that thanks to Evolution-Hockey.com), he has blocked 18 of them from entering the net. This includes this save on Pittsburgh’s Jake Guentzel in the Oct. 29 win over the Penguins.
Look at the clock. Not only was this opportunity one of the most dangerous, but it came late in the game with Seattle defending the lead.
What’s also impressive is that if we look at the shots Jones faces based on position (according to Sportlogiq), the goalkeeper gets more shots than the league average but is very much in line with, if not exceeding, the league average.
It seems that no matter where the pitcher chooses to attack on the net behind Jones, or from where they shoot on the ice, beating the Kraken goalie is just a challenge.
The photo below from HockeyViz.com shows Jones’ ability to save based on shooting location. The blue marks areas where you have a lower goal probability than the league average and the red flags where you have a better chance of beating the 6-foot-4 player.
This is not much room for opportunity.
So what makes it so difficult for Jones to score against now?
That’s what we asked McCann, a qualified scorer and one of the best in the league who led the Kraken in goals and points last season.
“(Jones) is so huge that he takes up a lot of the network in general,” McCann said. “For a big guy, he obviously moves really well. (His size) helps him a lot when it comes to deflections, and he can swallow pucks as well. He’s been great for us.”
McCann echoed feedback from other players who said that it is not only Jones’ size but his ability to stay long (instead of crouching too low) that makes him such a challenge to score against.
It’s not just the work Jones does to keep the puck out of the net that has made him so valuable to his team. McCann pointed to Jones’ ability to put pucks into the corners so defenders can retrieve them and start their penetration.
it’s something Adam Larson He also praised Jones’ ability to make quick plays. And again, he mentioned those balls that were saved in time.
We asked the veteran player if the goalkeeper could be the ‘clutch’.
“I think the goalkeeper can probably be man of the match,” said Larsson. “I mean, if a goalkeeper has a bad day, the game is usually over.
“(Jones) was just amazing…and it’s fun to watch too. I mean, when we’re off the bench too, he makes some unreal saves.”
Jones, of course, demurs when asked what works for his game. He will direct the defenders in front of him. After all, the Kraken is once again leading the league in terms of attacking opponents. The team currently ranks 7th in quality of shot-per-60 minutes played (2.36 goals expected-for, according to Evolving-Hockey.com).
We’re really good at clearing the middle of the ice,” Jones said. “[Other teams’] High risk scoring opportunities are really limited and. . . We don’t give teams a lot of time and space. The odd rush is limited. I have to play strong and make some saves at the right time and that gives us a good chance of winning.”
But in the week of his 32-year-old NHL honors, and in a season that saw some of the best performances of his career, the game Jones is most proud of stems from something more pure.
When asked about the standout game, he referred to the same October 29 home win over the Penguins.
“Probably the first match after my son was born,” said Jones. “I didn’t get much sleep coming out of the hospital…that was fine.”