Martin Jones putting in the work at Leafs practice
Photo credit: The Leafs Nation

One action taken by Martin Jones leads many to believe he'll be sticking around in Toronto

Published January 13, 2024 at 1:14 PM
BY MIKE ARMENTI

The Toronto Maple Leafs have gotten way more than their money's worth out of 3rd string netminder Martin Jones this season. As Jones prepares for his 7th consecutive start tonight, he has emerged as far more than just a 3rd option behind Joseph Woll and Ilya Samsonov. His 8-3-1 record and .928 SV% are indicative of a guy who can be a competent starter or an excellent tandem option and it looks as though he has a believer in Leafs head coach Sheldon Keefe, who appears to have a lot of trust in the 34-year-old netminder.

Jones came to Toronto on a 1-year, $875,000 deal this past summer and not only has he proven himself, he looks to be getting comfortable. His team plays hard in front of him, and when his name is called, he's been all business and has even stolen games for the Leafs, which begs the question; are the Leafs considering keeping him around beyond this season?

The question is certainly loaded, as there's still half a season remaining and plenty of time for things to go off the rails. However, one action taken by Jones this week seems to indicate that he's planning to be here beyond this season. Jones had a second Leafs goalie mask created, which he appears poised to debut tonight after sporting the new bucket at today's practice.




Typically with goaltenders, especially a 3rd stringer who could wind up on waivers at any moment once the team's primary options are healthy and performing, they won't sink the money on new equipment mid-season if they're not going to be sticking around awhile. However, with Jones having gone out and popped for a brand new, beautifully air-brushed Leafs mask, it points to the likelihood that he's not going anywhere anytime soon.

On Saturday afternoon, we heard Sheldon Keefe sing Jones' praises following practice, but also mention that he won't run him in another back-to-back like he did on the California road trip. Keefe was very non-committal on who would start tomorrow's game against Detroit, despite the fact that Joseph Woll is not yet healthy and Samsonov is already up with the team. Keefe appears to have lost all faith in Samsonov and it wouldn't be shocking to see Dennis Hildeby recalled tomorrow and get his first taste of NHL action after posting his 3rd shutout for the Marlies on Friday in an 8-0 win over Belleville.

With how things have gone for Samsonov this season, having gone through arbitration, earning a $3.55M award for this season only to put up some of the worst numbers in the league this year, it wouldn't be surprising to see the team move on from him this summer, despite their efforts, exhausting all avenues to try to get him going again over the past couple of weeks. If the team is planning for Samsonov's departure this summer and doesn't believe Hildeby is ready for full-time action, bringing Jones back on a short-term deal makes a ton of sense for a Leafs team who seems to be very comfortable with the veteran netminder between the pipes.
POLL
January 13   |   688 answers
One action taken by Martin Jones leads many to believe he'll be sticking around in Toronto

Do you think the Leafs will re-sign Martin Jones and have him replace Ilya Samsonov next season?

Yes59386.2 %
No9513.8 %
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