Could Martin Jones fix the Oilers’ goaltending problem?

One of Edmonton’s big question marks for next season is goaltending. The Oilers have been badly let down by their goaltenders this year, and the expectation is that general manager Craig MacTavish will once more attempt to address the position this summer.

Might he again turn to the Los Angeles Kings for help?

The idea that the Oilers might turn to Martin Jones is certainly not a new suggestion. It’s been made by many people (including a number of commenters here) and was mentioned again during Thursday’s game against Pittsburgh by Penguins play-by-play man Paul Steigerwald.

“There’s a thought that the Oilers might move [the Penguins 2015 first-round] pick to Los Angeles for goaltender Martin Jones,” Steigerwald commented during a break in play. They need a goalie, and the Kings might need a first-round pick.”

A Brief History

Jones, who was first eligible for selection in the 2008 NHL Draft, went unselected after a WHL season in which he went 18-8-1 with a 0.911 save percentage for the Calgary Hitmen. The Los Angeles Kings, along with 29 other teams, passed over Jones but unlike the others ended up inviting him to training camp and signing him.

Jones continued to post solid numbers behind a very good Calgary team for two more years, and then made the jump to the professional ranks with the Manchester Monarchs. It was instantly apparent that the Kings’ decision to sign him had been a very good one; Jones took to the AHL like a fish to water and posted some very impressive numbers with the team. Here’s how his work from 2010-14 stands up to the club’s other goalies:

Player Shots Faced Saves Save Percentage
Martin Jones 4644 4279 0.921
Peter Mannino 542 498 0.919
Jeff Zatkoff 2516 2303 0.915
Jean-Francois Berube 1315 1198 0.911
Team Totals 9327 8561 0.918

Jones made the jump to the NHL last season, eventually making it clear to Los Angeles that it could afford to trade backup Ben Scrivens to make room for him. Here’s how he compares to other goalies to defend the Kings’ net since the start of last year:

Player Shots Faced Saves Save Percentage
Ben Scrivens 464 432 0.931
Martin Jones 776 718 0.925
Jonathan Quick 2710 2479 0.915
Team Totals 3950 3629 0.919

An Uncertain Gamble

There’s no doubt that Jones is an intriguing young goalie. The question is whether he’s a certain enough bet for the Oilers to take a chance on him. I’m not convinced.

There’s no question that Jones is a good AHL goalie. He outplayed Jeff Zatkoff in Manchester by a significant margin; Zatkoff is an established AHL starter and even backed up Marc-Andre Fleury in Pittsburgh last season. He also outplayed Peter Mannino, a competent minor-league journeyman. But the gap between ‘outplayed Mannino and Zatkoff’ and ‘pencil him in as an NHL No. 1 goalie’ is massive, and less than 1,000 shots in the NHL isn’t nearly enough to address it.

That’s particularly true if the price is anything like a first-round pick, which seems ridiculously exorbitant. Let’s not forget that the Oilers were able to acquire Scrivens – a goalie with a longer NHL record and better numbers in L.A. – for the price of a third-round pick, and that during the season no less. Weighed against that is the fact that the Kings (as a contender with a starter who has missed significant time to injury in recent years) have little motivation to ship a quality backup like Jones away for a low return.

Even if the price is modest, MacTavish will be taking a leap of faith turning to a goalie with Jones’ short NHL history. At a higher price, such a trade seems incredibly unlikely.


  • PEBOisONit

    Please don’t let MacT or anyone else in this management group take any leaps of faith. Clean house first, then the new management can make the decisions…

    • Dirtski


      !00% agree.

      To address the article, he MAY help fix the problem, he MAY NOT, but given the debacle surrounding the goaltending in the past 3 years, how the hell is it going to hurt?

  • gus1000

    Fix the defense.

    The goaltending will be better with an actual NHL defense. Dubnyk is proving that. Oh and maybe some support from management, rather than crapping all over your goalies before the season starts.

    • reidgm

      Dubnyk is living proof that the problem is defense and goaltending. We could have Carey Price here and it woudn’t make a difference until there is a significant upgrade to the defence in front of him.

  • gus1000

    Katz et al have abandoned the Oiler faithful. Maybe fans should abandon him, his bonehead management team, his 3rd rate fan food and his white elephant new hockey rink. Turnabout should be fair play. He has been an unbelievably useless owner who has shown no signs of giving two sh*ts what fans think.

    Goaltending? Are you kidding? This team’s problems start way the heck above that. Talk about arranging deck chairs on the Titanic…get real.

  • hallsyoilerforever5

    Another maybe goalie on the worst defensive core in the NHL? No thanks. We all know how Scrivens looked after being traded here from the kings.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    until the defense is fixed, including some shoddy defense by the forwards!, any goalie they bring in is likely doomed! Marty Jones, Niklas Svedberg, Peter Mrazek, Antti Raanta, Andrei Vasilevskiy, Dustin Tokarski, John Gibson, Darcy Kuemper, Jonathan Bernier, James Reimer, Robyn Lehner, Eddie Lack, Antti Niemi….all pretty damn good goalies, some never to be starters over the star goalies already there and needing a chance to try to become a starter elsewhere.

  • SSB1963

    Dubnyk started out horrendous the year he was traded. But it was behind an equally horrendous D. Put him in front of a somewhat capable D and he shines. Scrivens showed in LA albeit small sample that he also is a very capable goalie. Now he started out this year horrendous just like Dubie did. in the last couple months however he’s played quite a bit better. Somewhere in the .905 to .910 range which is still slightly below the league average.

    I ask you this take any goalie say Tukko Rask at .922 and imagine a season with Nikitin, Schultz, and Ference in front of him. That .922 would become a .905 pretty quick.

    I’m not saying Scrivens is definitely the answer. All i’m saying is evaluating these goalies behind this defence might not be the best indicator of abilities. I’d say take a shot on some potential goalies like Jones for sure but if it takes a 1st round draft pick this year I’d take a pass. Also please NO to Niemi. I’d rather spend $6 million/year on a 1st Pairing D or 2nd line C.

    • TomahawkThought

      Oh OH I see it already…history is being rewritten…ergo that its not Dubnyk’s fault he sucked it was the D and/or the coacs or management etc etc…let me remind everyone including people who were too young to remember…Dubbie sucked !!! right from the first game when we had no idea how bad our defence was …right fronm the very start he was letting in goals from 40 feet out and through his legs and from everywhere so please lets not BS this…HE was AWFUL… He is great now but he was terrible dutring that stretch.

  • YakCity1039

    Dude, it’s not the goal tending problem, it’s whole team defense.

    Look at Dubnyk now with a team defense around him, he’s almost unbeatable. Well his career is on the line so he really picked up his game.

    After this draft and maybe a few trades and UFA signings, we get better as a team.

    Scrivens will be fine, stop chasing after other team 2nd and 3rd goalies in their system.

    Broisoit is another year away then he can prove himself in NHL.

    • camdog

      Scrivens will be fine…

      Knowing that MacT made it publicly known that he is going to run with his current D-men for next year, I have little faith that “The Professor” will be fine.

      Scrivens is going to be Apollo Creed vs. Ivan Drago, a bloody and destroyed mess. At least DD was able to put up respectable numbers for three years before it got to him. Scrivens didn’t make it a season worth of games.

  • Anton CP

    Short answer: No.

    Long answer: what is the point to get another so-called career back up? He is benefiting from playing with Kings and his AHL record weren’t great. Kings trade Scrivens to Edmonton wasn’t about that Jones was better instead of Jones was cheaper. If Scivens and Jones role reversed then it would be Scrivens remain in LA not Jones.

    Why this “goalie problem” topics are going endlessly on ON? When majority of the shots of Oilers goalies have to face are potential breakaways, how many can they save? Again, not even Brodeur at his prime can make that many saves.

  • YakCity1039

    So the idea here is to trade a former 10th overall pick that Mactankvish turned into a late 1st for another backup goalie? And this is going to solve what problem again? Jones is a good backup but he’s pretty much what Bernier was a few years ago without the hype or success in lesser leagues. If we’re gonna trade a 1st round pick in a deep draft for a goalie he better be a legitament starter or atleast have the pedigree of a Vasilevsky or a Subban. Not some gamble on a backup

    • gus1000

      My bad, I read the quote from the pens play by play man, got mad and posted before reading the rest of the article. a 1st round pick for him is ridiculous, although I wouldn’t put it past MacTankvish and KBlowe. I have no idea how or why jones would be in anyway an upgrade from Scrivens or Fasth.

  • Darth Oiler

    Why waste PIttsburghs 1st round pick trading for Jones? LA is a cap strapped team. Offer sheet Jones at the max 2nd round compensation level. LA can’t afford to pay that much for a backup goaltender. And if they match, they can’t trade him.

    Which means you keep the Pittsburgh pick, and only give up the 2016 2nd round for him.

    • TKB2677

      I like this idea a lot. That range is $1.7MM to $3.4MM. Jones makes $550k this year so he gets a nice enough raise that he is willing to come into this dysfunctional family, and if the offer is somewhere in the $2.5MM he costs you the same as Fasth or Scrivens.

      At least head-fake this way to get the price down, and then offer Scrivens (who did pretty good there by the above numbers) and a 3rd or 4th rounder.

      I don’t think you stop there as you either need to re-sign Fasth or get a better vet to come in as a 1B for a couple of years, but its a really good start.

      As others have noted though this is just shuffling more deck chairs if we don’t improve the D.

    • cmandev77

      Brilliant… except Dean Lombardi is working on re-signing Pearson and Jones RIGHT NOW, Toffoli is next. Wonder why??? You must be good at calling last night’s lottery numbers too, Captain Obvious.

      Nothing will help your team, not a miraculous fusion of Dryden, Tretiak, Vachon, Roy, Hasek, etc. until and unless they get legitimate top 4 D. Scrivens is a decent goalie and Fasth is not bad either, neither one is able to play god.

      Hmmm, I think your obviuosness is rubbing off on me now… Time for me to go…

      PS: Slava Voynov may like Edmonton being from Chelyabinsk.

  • gus1000

    I have a much less complicated solution to the porous defence and goaltending of the Oil. I have a 4′ x 6′ piece of plywood in my garage that I will cheerfully donate to the Oil. I don’t even want it back.

  • knee deep in it

    Wait till desperation sets in for CAP strap teams then start talking deals. Why help Kings by giving them a 1st rounder for a goalie. That includes d-men. Good example was Snow got Boychuck and Leddy for cheap

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Is it just my eyes or does Talbot look very good.I watched his last 2 games he was the main reason the Rangers beat Washington.However playing behind a very good defense..Out of all the scouts we have why is it that one of them cannot follow around 3or 4 teams and watch some goalies and pick a good one to trade for or draft or find in some other league.Lowe if you want to spend some money get rid of Semenko Sutter and Howson find out who scouts goalies for Anaheim and pay him lots to come to Edmonton

  • pkam

    Any NHL team looking for a capable starting goalie for next season will have Dubnyk on their list, perhaps except the Oilers.

    If a goalie who can post 0.937 SV% and 1.67 GAA, 19 wins and 40 pts in 25 games, is not capable to help this team, I wonder who else can?

  • TomahawkThought

    Although I believe Jones could be a number one goaltender in the near future, there is little chance he could assume that role in Edmonton. The goaltending issue for the Oilers has not been having capable goalies, it has been the inability to bring in a goaltender that has already gained confidence as a starter. This confidence is what makes the difference between decent goaltenders and great ones. Unfortunately, this confidence cannot be instilled when working behind one of the worst defensive corps in the league. Thus, MacT needs to deal some assets in order to find a confident starting goaltender that they can build a team around.

    • freelancer

      When are you guys going to stop blaming the goalies and start building a competent defence? Hasn’t the Dubnyk resurgence taught you anything? There’s no magic pill, no one player is going to turn things around. McDavid is not going to turn it around. You started this year with a crap defence and you’ve just traded away your best D, resulting in an even worse D. Till you do that nothing is going to change. And until you gut and change the management that brought you here and thinks the D is looking good and Jultz is a Norris-potential candidate that will never happen either. NEVER!

  • Randaman


    Trade Eberle or Yak ++ for a Top pairing defenseman or we will be talking about how the goaltending has let us down again next year and the year after that!!

  • Nuge&Connorvs.Sam&Sean

    Trade a first round pick for an unproven goaltender at the NHL level?

    That would be The.Most.Idiotic.Move.The.Oilers.Could.Make.
    Talk about desperation!!!

  • freelancer

    Fix our defence first. Aside from Carey Price, no goaltender could come in and post stellar numbers behind this defence. Even Niemi who has been thrown around here I think would end up being a huge dissapointment. He’s a .915 average roughly over the last few years with guys like Vlasic and Burns, Think he can do that behind Nikitin and Ference?

  • knee deep in it

    I heard a Kings play by play guy talk about Jones. The feeling is that he is a better goaltender than bernier was when they were in the same situation. He considered him the best non starter in the game.

    The Kings are at 70 mill with 15 guys signed next year. The richards contract is killing them. Jones is looking for 2-3 mill and that just does not work for the kings. There are not a lot of teams looking to trade for a goalie. There are enough ufa to fill most of the vacancies this summer. Jones trade value is probably closer to a 3rd, maybe the montreal 2nd gets it done.

    All of this is moot if we don’t fix the defence. Getting a top pairing would allow us to have scrivens and jones in the net.

  • Chainsawz

    Why spend a draft pick on one? Unless you are getting a proven goalie, it is completely voodoo trying to find a starting goalie.

    Make the pick and try signing Neuvirth, Enroth, or Ramo if the Oilers strike out on Niemi.

    Next year is another rebuild season anyway. Replacing Scrivens the next offseason with a proven starter should be the long view goal.