The Toronto Maple Leafs signed goaltender Martin Jones on August 9th to a one-year contract.
New Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brad Treliving wanted to add insurance to the Leafs goaltending position in case one of Joseph Woll or Ilya Samsonov were injured.
During the Toronto Maple Leafs game against the Ottawa Senators in Ottawa on Thursday, goaltender Joseph Woll suffered an injury and had to leave the game.
Jones was the backup goaltender that night due to Samsonov being sick. It was Jones’ first NHL regular season game this season.
Toronto Maple Leafs: Martin Jones Signing Proving Beneficial
Depending on how severe Woll’s injury is, fans can expect Jones to play in net for the Leafs again. Hopefully, Samsonov feels better and can play most of the games, but it’s helpful to have Jones as a backup.
Without Jones, the Leafs would be relying on inexperienced AHL goaltenders. Depth in goaltending is a luxury in the NHL, and the Leafs are lucky to have some.
Jones is an NHL veteran of 445 games played with a 226-163-35 record over 11 NHL seasons. He has also appeared in 63 NHL playoff games with a 32-27-0 record. The Leafs got lucky when Jones cleared through waivers at the start of the season because many thought he would be claimed.
Luckily for the Leafs, he didn’t. (Stats from hockey-reference.com)
Although Jones did not have great stats last season, but he wasn’t horrible. He finished the 2022-23 season with a 27-13-3 record with a 2.99 GAA and a .886 SV% with three shutouts for the Seattle Kraken. This season, Jones has appeared in five games for the Toronto Marlies. He has a 2-1-1 record with a 3.37 GAA and .870 SV%.
The Leafs have eight games between now (Friday) and the Christmas break. During that time, there is only one set of back-to-back games on December 11th (New York Islanders) and December 12th (New York Rangers).
If Samsonov can play to the standard we witnessed last season, then Jones will likely not play again until one of those back-to-back games.
However, if Samsonov continues to be inconsistent, we might see more of Jones. The injury to Woll is unfortunate, but Jones needs to make the most of this opportunity. He will be looking to prove to the Leafs that they made the right decision to sign him and prove to the NHL that he is still a capable NHL goaltender.