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?

  • Edsez

    Based on what he’s shown, Jones is as good a prospect as anything they could hope to get with that pick …. I’d make that deal

    Put me down for, “Acquire an actual proven #1 goalie”, though

  • MGD

    Isn’t Jones an RFA at the end of the year… what if the Oilers trade for him and he refuses to sign? I’m not sure it’s a good idea for this management to be spending draft picks on unsigned players – they tried that last year (Nikitin) and have the whole NHL laughing at them for it.

  • Zarny

    Jones is certainly a G option that should be on the Oilers’ radar.

    I would not give up Pit 1st rnd pick for him though. If you’re moving that pick for a G I’d target Bernier or Lehner over Jones.

    • SSB1963

      People would still complain that we were taking a chance on an unproven goaltender. Sometimes I think nothing will make people happy. I tend to try and look on the bright side, but certain comments on here tend to P|ss me off and give me an Ulcer.

  • 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?

  • pkam

    Lots of whinning and moaning, we are where we are, so let’s focus on what to do now. People screaming for a proven #1, well guess what, no one is giving them away so come up with a plan rather than just whinning about MacT.

    We need to drastically improve Fasth. I’m okay with Jones and Scrivens going into next year, but hope at max. we would just give up Montreal’s 2nd rounder for Jones. Likely not enough for them as he is an important backup, so scout the hell out of every organization and league and find another goalie worth taking a gamble on. Also like the idea of hiring Anaheim’s goalie scouts.

    • Mike Krushelnyski

      Haha “let’s come up with a plan”, like if we all sign a petition for a trade proposal the Oilers will be obligated to do it?

      All we can do is whinn (I assume that’s the root of ‘whinning’) about the guy who promised bold moves, the worst is in the rearview, turning the corner etc. and delivered what is all but guaranteed to be the worst season in franchise history with no hope on the horizon.

      • Darth Oiler

        The idea is to come up with an idea, or at least an opinion on an idea. Just having a “Whine” about MacT won’t help anything and gets tiring after reading it on 40 out of 50 comments.

        Perhaps I’m a homer but i don’t see things as that bleak. This season is a write off, but we get a good player at the draft. Nurse and Draisaitl season in the AHL next year then hopefully push their way onto the team. Hall, Ebs, Nuge, Schultz will all be a year older and a year better. This team has always been built for a 2016 takeoff.

        The issue here in this article is about Jones. It’s an important question. Your thoughts on Jones?

        • Mike Krushelnyski

          I think Jones is another “maybe” like Dubnyk, Scrivens and Fasth were. I think that recent history has shown that playing behind the Oilers’ D is not a place where a young, unproven goalie is going to establish confidence and consistency.

          I would be looking for an established, vocal, veteran goalie. I’m not sure how easy that will be to find, and I’m definitely not sure that MacT is up to it.

          I can’t see another young goalie coming in here and playing well unless we get a #1,2 and 3 defenceman in the summer.

  • 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!!

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Kevwan

    Big fan of yours Jon. There you go again, using reason and logic to back up a rational point of view.
    That’s what we love about you.

    Now, if only we could get you a job as an analyst on sportsnets Oilers coverage instead of you know who….Spector.

    I was all for going after Jones until I read this piece…I am now against it. Well done.

    So, then Jon, have you already done a piece on which goalies the Oil should chase? i think you did, and your conclusion was niemi. Anyone else?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • How about renaming the Oilers just to change things up. In keeping with the dithering dopes on Kingsway and the total blandness of the entire organization why not rename them to the ‘Edmonton Beige’ ? Now the name fits the performance.

  • 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.

  • Dirtski

    This Grant MacEwan Math prof did this presentation about analytics. It isn’t part of the Goalie discussion, but I thought the other Willis Readers would appreciate it.

  • 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.

  • 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!