Who exactly is Martin Jones?
You may have heard his name recently, or at least seen it trending on twitter, but just three weeks ago Martin Jones was far from a household name. When L.A. Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick went down with a Grade 2 groin strain on November 12th, the Kings’ season looked to be in jeopardy. They were to spend an estimated 4-6 weeks without the man who received most of the accolades for the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup victory.
This was, of course, the end of the world for all Kings fans.
However, for newly acquired backup goalie, Ben Scrivens, it was a chance for him to prove himself and become the hero that the Kings desperately needed. To the surprise of many, he came in and won four straight games, earning himself some recognition from the NHL and the adoration of Los Angeles hockey fans. After Scrivens started ten consecutive games and earned at least a point in nine of them, Kings head coach Darryl Sutter decided to give him a night off.
Enter Martin Jones, the rookie goaltender called up from the Kings’ AHL affiliate, the Manchester Monarchs.
Jones made his NHL debut on December 3rd against one of the top teams in the Western Conference, the Anaheim Ducks. The game went to a shootout, where he faced some of league’s best in Teemu Selanne, Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, etc. and stopped every single shot for nine rounds, earning himself a win in his first ever NHL game.
Fast-forward to the present day, and Jones has posted a career record of 7-0-0, putting him only one win away from tying the NHL record for most wins by a rookie goalie to start his career. On top of that, he’s posted three shutouts, recorded an assist, and has a GAA of 0.85 and a save percentage of .971.
Numbers aside, Jones plays with the ease and composure of a 10-year veteran. While the entire Staples Center is frantic over a scramble in front of the net, Jones is absolutely placid, and that might be the most impressive aspect of his game. It’s important to note that this guy went UNDRAFTED. That means that thirty-two teams passed on him…seven times. He earned his spot with the Kings on a tryout, which has got to make this recent success that much sweeter for him.
The Kings will have to make a very difficult decision when Jonathan Quick returns. There’s no question that Quick will be the number one guy, but do they send Jones back down to Manchester so he can continue to play and perhaps make a run at the Calder Cup? Or do they trade Scrivens, whose value is incredibly high right now with him still sitting near the top of the league in GAA and SV %?
The choice may be tough for the Kings, but it’s definitely the best kind of tough position to be in. The depth of this organization is unmatched, and the Kings have proven that they can weather any kind of storm. This kind of skill and perseverance is exactly what it takes to win a Stanley Cup, and the Kings are looking like they may be ready to take back the title.
If Jones gets the call in net on Saturday, he could be facing his toughest challenge yet: An afternoon game against the Colorado Avalanche. The Kings have notoriously struggled with afternoon games over the past several years, but they have a little extra to play for this time.
Check out some of Jones’ most impressive moments so far: