Martin Jones will have the final three seasons of his contract bought out by the San Jose Sharks.
The 31-year-old goalie will be able to sign as an unrestricted free agent Wednesday. He signed a six-year contract with the Sharks on June 23, 2016. He was 15-13-4 with a 3.28 GAA, .896 save percentage and one shutout in 34 games this season, when he shared playing time with Devan Dubnyk, Josef Korenar and Alexei Melnichuk.
“This was not a decision we made lightly,” San Jose general manager Doug Wilson said Tuesday. “It’s never enjoyable to part with someone who’s been, to me, has been a big part of this franchise the last six years. We knew that change was needed, but also not forget some of the things he did.”
Jones was 170-121-37 with a 2.66 GAA, .907 save percentage and 18 shutouts in 327 games (325 starts), and 32-27 with a 2.41 GAA, .916 save percentage and six shutouts in 60 Stanley Cup Playoff games after the Sharks acquired him in a trade with the Boston Bruins on June 30, 2015. He went 14-10 with a 2.16 GAA, .923 save percentage and an NHL-high three shutouts in 24 playoff games in 2016, when San Jose reached the Stanley Cup Final before losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
“We don’t go to the Stanley Cup Final without Martin Jones,” Wilson said. “It’s mixed feelings, but we understand that sometimes goaltenders get too much credit when you win and too much blame when you lose, but that’s the reality of that position. We came to the conclusion that change was needed and we’ve pushed forward on that.”
Jones signed a three-year contract with the Los Angeles Kings as an undrafted free agent Oct. 2, 2008. He was the backup for Jonathan Quick when the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2014.
The Sharks acquired goalie Adin Hill and a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft from the Arizona Coyotes on July 17 for Korenar and a second-round pick in the 2022 draft. Hill, 25, can become a restricted free agent Wednesday.
“We knew that we had to address our goaltending and it comes in many different ways,” Wilson said. “We were not going to move any of our draft picks, our first-round pick in particular (forward William Eklund, No. 7 in 2021 NHL Draft), and we’re very happy that we didn’t. We knew that we had to move some other things potentially to address our goaltending and we brought in Adin Hill. We’re going to add another veteran goalie, a quality guy in the next few days, to change our goaltending and that’s what we needed to do.
“We also wanted to treat Martin with the respect that he deserves. I had a good talk with him this morning, so we wanted to handle it the right way. But we made the commitment to changing our goaltending and we’ve done that. We’re most of the way through that process. We have one more goalie to add.”