|Martin Jones (photo: Kasey Spatz)|
You never quite know what you’re going to get with a prospect.
Young forwards usually need to learn the defensive side of the game before being NHL ready. Defensemen tend to mature around the age of 24. Goalies, historically, take a little longer.
As is the case with LA’s two Jonathans, Quick and Bernier, Martin Jones is probably a little ahead of the curve.
Only 21, he was signed as a free agent in October 2008. The following season he wrapped up his junior career in stellar style, being named the 2009-10 WHL Goaltender of the Year (behind a 2.21 goals-against average and .919 save percentage).
What did he do for an encore? He turned pro, went to Manchester (AHL) and practically stole the starting job from Jeff Zatkoff. In 39 games played, he posted a 23-12-1 record with a 2.25 goals-against-average and a .924 save percentage. He also was the starting goaltender in the AHL All-Star Game – yes, as a rookie.
Summing it up, he’s pretty much sky rocketed to third on the team’s overall depth chart in net.
Coach Murray – “This young man, to me, has maybe grown more than anyone on the ice right now (in camp). I’ve seen incredible change in maturity and composure. In sitting in and listening to the goaltender sessions they had before getting on the ice, he’s very astute, very analytical, technical, well-spoken. He’s a man. He’s becoming a very intelligent person about the game and I think it just translates right into his game on the ice. We’re seeing that big body, he’s really grown a lot too, in a couple years now. We’re seeing a player who’s going to keep pushing it up here. He definitely needs more time and needs to be the number one guy in the American Hockey League and all of that stuff. We have a player on our hands here.”
Coach Ranford on Jones taking a leadership role in camp – “Jonesy really led the way (here in camp), this is his third camp now. Usually we don’t put the young guys with the older guys. But, I just felt with (Chris) Gibson being our draft pick and the other guys (being invitees), it was important to put the two together. I thought Jonesy would do a good job mentoring him and he has – because it was a little bit overwhelming for the young guy early on, going up against some real high-level shooters. Jonesy has probably been one of the best guys in this camp, (including the) forwards or defensemen. From start to finish, he’s been outstanding.
Coach Ranford on Jones’ confidence in camp – “From the first goalie session on, he’s been lights out. He’s always had a great demeanor. But, I think he’s getting better at reading releases, getting better at reading plays. And that’s how you become a better goalie and that’s how you move to the next level. I’m really looking forward to seeing how he does against the big boys in training camp, that’s the next step for him.”
Coach Ranford on Jones’ rookie season in the AHL – “Lights out! Nobody would have expected that. We thought he was going to be in the East Coast League the whole year (in Ontario), learning and becoming a good pro. He definitely fast-tracked. To go to the All-Star game in your rookie season is pretty impressive.”
Earlier this week we posted comments from Martin Jones regarding his experience at camp this year (linked here)…or feel free to check out some of the other links listed below.
Five Questions with Martin Jones – talking other Kings goalies and mask designs