Sharks Acquire Martin Jones From Bruins

By Mary Walsh

The San Jose Sharks have acquired goaltender Martin Jones from the Boston Bruins. From the Sharks press release: “Martin was at the top of our list of players that we had targeted,” said Wilson. “We’re extremely excited to have him on board.”

In return, the Sharks gave up a first round pick in the 2016 draft and unsigned prospect Sean Kuraly. Kuraly was drafted in the fifth round in 2011 and is starting his senior year at Miami University.

In 2013-14, Jones won his first eight NHL starts to tie an NHL record. In that span, he was the first NHL goalie to average less than a goal a game in that win streak. The 6’4″, 25 year old goalie spent the majority of the past few seasons playing with the AHL Manchester Monarchs. In 2013-14, he played 19 games with the Kings, and this past season he played 13 games. Three of those appearances were against the Sharks: a win and two losses, one in relief of Jonathan Quick.

In the most recent World Championships, Jones started and won twice for Canada, helping the team earn the gold medal. His World Junior team won the silver medal in 2010, and he was named to the AHL All Star teams in 2011 and 2014.

Boston acquired Jones in a draft weekend trade from the Los Angeles Kings, along with a 2015 first round pick and defenseman Colin Miller in exchange for Milan Lucic. Jones was originally signed by the Kings as a free agent in 2008.

The Sharks also announced that they have issued qualifying offers to goalie Aaron Dell and forward Daniil Tarasov. By issuing the offers, the team retains negotiating rights to both players. The sharks did not issue offers to forwards Eriah Hayes and Rylan Schwartz, goalie JP Anderson, and defenseman Taylor Doherty. Those four players become unrestricted free agents.

Sharks Keep Demers and Doherty in the Fold

By Mary Walsh

Tuesday, the San Jose Sharks announced the resigning of defensemen Jason Demers and Taylor Doherty. The team gave Demers a two year contract and Doherty one year. The moves solidified the team’s current blue line and add some depth for the future. It might not be enough to improve their offseason PuckDaddy grade from an F, but it is a start.

Last season was a bounce-back season for Demers, who performed below expectations the two seasons prior. Those seasons were marred by injury but also found him often benched as a healthy scratch. His improvement this past season could be attributed to better health and the changes on the coaching staff that occurred before the last lockout season. All of the team’s young defensemen have shown improvement since Larry Robinson and Jim Johnson joined the team.

Demers’ career path could be considered a cautionary tale about why you do not want to rush players, especially defensemen, into the NHL. He started playing in San Jose when he was just 21 years old, one season after being drafted. He got off to a great start with the team, posting 21 and 24 points his first two seasons, then bottomed out with 13 in his third season and just three in the fourth. Perhaps his sophomore slump came late, and he took a lot of heat in those two poor seasons for not repeating earlier success. Nevertheless, the Sharks’ coaches have shown slowly increasing faith in him and his performance has improved accordingly. His 34 points last season were a reminder of why expectations were so high for him.

Demers’ role as an offensively-minded defenseman will always make him prone to risk-taking. Much as fans would like to see all the players, forwards and defensemen alike, play a diligent defensive game, playing well at both ends of the ice is harder than it sounds. Well, obviously it sounds pretty hard, barring teleportation powers. Additionally, fans don’t actually enjoy perfect defensive games– those tend to be low-scoring and uneventful. So that’s the cake- eat it or leave it. If Jason Demers is supposed to keep an eye out for scoring chances and even create some, his defensive game might on occasion leave something to be desired.

His contract is eminently reasonable. Looking at the defensemen around Demers in the standings, his salary is lower than most players of equivalent value to their teams. Whether measuring by points or time on ice or age, his $3.4 million per year is a good deal for San Jose. It is such a good deal that one wonders if it isn’t a setup for a trade. The last Shark to file for arbitration (TJ Galiardi) only got one year out of the team, but he was not signed and traded either. For the sake of San Jose, we can hope the Demers contract is not just a set up to move him out.

Taylor Doherty was drafted by the Sharks in the second round in 2009. This year, he will enter his third full season with the AHL’s Worcester Sharks. Last season saw him miss a number of games due to injury, and he has yet to play in the NHL. There was a little more buzz around his name a season ago, but the Sharks obviously think he is worth another look.  Just 23 years old, 6’7″, he has not been heating up the score sheet but last season showed some improvement over the season before. With a little down tick in the +/- column (from +2 to -2), he improved his points total from 6 to 10, playing 23 fewer games. He has a strong shot that he could probably use more often.

Doherty, like Demers… and Braun, and Burns, is a right-handed shot. That is worth noting as such defensemen seem to be in short supply elsewhere.

The Sharks’ offseason is looking like a long slow one, but that is what Doug Wilson promised at the end of last season. If Wilson is serious about not wanting to bring any veteran player in who may supplant younger players, that remaining cap space ($6.145 million, per CapGeek.com) will continue to sit there and taunt those who had hoped for any exciting new additions.