In his first season as a Shark — his first a full-time NHL starter — Martin Jones has played pretty well.
And in his first stint as a Shark — his first anywhere outside of Toronto — James Reimer has played pretty well, too.
So maybe that’s all San Jose head coach Peter DeBoer was referencing in his reply to CSN Bay Area’s question of “is Jones your playoff starter?”
But his answer could also open a can of worms, one most didn’t see coming.
From CSN’s Kevin Kurz:
Now make no mistake, Jones has been the guy for San Jose this year. He’s posted solid numbers (35 wins, .920 save percentage, 2.24 GAA) while carrying one of the league’s heaviest workloads. His 60 appearances are second-most among goalies, and only his former mentor — Los Angeles’ Jonathan Quick — has played more.
But Reimer’s arrival has made things interesting.
Prior to, the guy Reimer was traded for — Alex Stalock — was mired in a disappointing campaign, and regarded as one of the league’s weaker backups. So with Stalock in the fold, there was a sense Jones almost had to play as much as he did.
That’s not the case anymore.
Though it’s a small sample size, Reimer’s numbers through five games as a Shark are pretty impressive: .920 save percentage, 2.03 GAA and a pair of shutouts. And those numbers are after a rough outing against Edmonton on Thursday night, in which he allowed five goals on just 21 shots.
As for playoff experience, there’s not much to choose between. Reimer has a bit more — seven games to Jones’ two — but it’s not like either has established himself as a perennial postseason performer.
With all this in mind, it seems likely that 1) Jones will be the playoff starter, and 2) DeBoer is simply keeping his cards close, because he doesn’t see any benefit in revealing them.
Of course, there are still eight games left in San Jose’s season. Things can change.