The San Jose Sharks acquired young goaltender Adin Hill a few days ago, giving them a potential answer in net for the 2021-22 season. Hill has shown plenty of promise in his limited experience, including a .913 save percentage in 19 appearances this year. It’s hard to turn the keys over to a 25-year-old netminder with just 49 games under his belt though, so the Sharks are still looking for a veteran netminder for next season, according to Kevin Kurz of The Athletic.
What does that mean for Martin Jones, a veteran who is already under contract? It seems likely, as Kurz suggests, that Jones has played his last game for the Sharks. The 31-year-old goaltender is still signed for three more seasons and carries a $5.75MM cap hit, but has played so poorly that he is a prime candidate for a buyout. In 137 appearances since the start of the 2018-19 season, Jones has posted a .896 save percentage, still somehow going 68-53-11 in the process. The fact that he had a winning record last season even on the struggling Sharks team suggests that perhaps if they improve the goaltending situation there are better days ahead for this San Jose roster.
Still, a buyout would be expensive, costing the Sharks at least $1.67MM in cap space over each of the next six years. Add that to a veteran replacement and things might end up being pretty similar in terms of salary cap costs for the Sharks, meaning they’ll need to make sure whoever they bring in is a clear upgrade (though, at this point, that’s not difficult to accomplish). Hill of course is also not proven at the starting level, meaning someone that can take the reins in a pinch should be appealing to the Sharks.
There are plenty of veteran names on the market this year, including many that have been starters or tandem goaltenders in recent years. Frederik Andersen, Jaroslav Halak, James Reimer, Petr Mrazek, Jonathan Bernier, and others would all likely fit the role at various costs, but the Sharks could also pursue a trade if those free agent prices get out of hand. At any rate, it appears GM Doug Wilson’s work isn’t complete when it comes to goaltending.