Terrible Decision Costs Toronto Maple Leafs vs Rival Senators

Dec 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) scores an empty net
Dec 27, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) scores an empty net / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

If you've covered the Toronto Maple Leafs as long as I have, certain patterns start to emerge.

One thing that happens constantly is that the team will sign a bad player that no one wants or cares about, then months will go by where nothing happens, then that player gets put into the spotlight and everyone talks about how the Toronto Maple Leafs were so smart to sign him.

How it's paying off so wonderfly. And how smart the team is, etc.

This predictably happened with Martin Jones. That is because Martin Jones stinks and has stunk for about five years. He was also signed by the Leafs as part of their "name-brand summer" (which is where they hired a new GM 4 minutes before the offseason started and so he just signed a bunch of guys with name recognition) and was really quite a lazy signing.

So when Jones was summoned to the NHL and won his first three games (one in relief, the other two in back-to-back games were the Leafs scored 7 times) and everyone talked about how fortunate the Leafs were to have him, I couldn't help but laugh.

The fact the Leafs thought it was a good idea to sign a guy with 5 straight season of a .900 or worse save percentage, but then were getting praised to the rafters for signing him after 2 blowouts and a fluke comeback, was so typical of covering the Leafs that it is hilarious.

Martin Jones is a sub-replacement level goalie who was a terrible signing, and is a terrible NHL goalie. He is 33 and has no business in the NHL at this point, and you could replace him with any random goalie and not notice a smidge of difference.

The Leafs should be trying to get Ilya Samsonov right, and the only way to do that is to let him play. Playing Martin Jones, as seen last night, is a waste of everyone's time.

The Leafs have lost three of the last four games Jones played in, and two of those losses were against two of the worst teams in the NHL (though you can't really pin the Buffalo game on him, he was just as bad as Samsonov was).

Jones' overal numbers are fine, but he's only played in 7 games, so the shutout against the Penguins and the win against Columbus really skew the stats.

In his last four games, he's been terrible in three of them, including two games the Leafs should have won.

In last night's game against the Senators, Martin Jones was terrible and the main reason the Leafs - by far the best team - lost the game.

Martin Jones should not be in the NHL right now. The Toronto Maple Leafs either have to must bite the bullet and go with Ilya Samsonov, or call up Dennis Hildeby or make a trade.

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What they can't do is start Martin Jones in another game in the NHL in 2023-24. It was a terrible decision to sign him, and it was a terrible decision to play him last night.