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Sharks, Monty, and the deadline

December 12, 2019, 6:26 PM ET [2 Comments]
Ty Anderson
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Let's be real: Now ex-Sharks coach Pete DeBoer was a goner the second the Sharks brought Bob Boughner, who had served as an assistant on their staff from 2015 through 2017 before his two-year run behind the Florida bench, back into the mix.

I mean, how many times have we seen this? Bruce Cassidy was brought in Claude Julien's assistant and replaced him in the first season as his right-hand man. Mike Yeo had Craig Berube lurking over his shoulder and we all know how that ended.

But DeBoer really seems to be taking the fall for what's been a complete, multi-year unraveling from Sharks goaltender Martin Jones. And with 2019 being the absolute worst of it all.

Now, before we begin, it's worth mentioning that it hasn't been all bad. Jones, acquired from the Bruins in exchange for a first-round pick and then-prospect Sean Kuraly, took the Sharks to the Stanley Cup Final in his first year with the Sharks. But this season, Jones enters Thursday night with a horrendous .891 save percentage on the year. Among goaltenders with at least 20 appearances this season, only ex-teammate Jon Quick's .888 is worse.

Jones also has a league-worst -13.63 goals saved above average at all-situation play, which is the worst among all goaltenders, even without minute and appearance qualifiers factored in. That is straight-up dreadful. And it's basically a death sentence when you consider how disastrous the Sharks' blue line has been with its two offense-first blue liners, one of whom is clearly never going to be the same given the career-altering injuries he's sustained over the years (Erik Karlsson, in case you're unaware). Nevertheless, it's Jones who has left the most to be desired, and has been the driving force of San Jose's plummet from Cup contender to mere playoff hopeful (they enter Thursday five points out of the second wild card in the West).

In fact, San Jose's team save percentage (.887) ranks as the fourth-worst in hockey, above only the Devils, Red Wings, and Kings. (These are three teams you do not want to be mentioned alongside this season.) They've allowed

Here's to hoping Boughner can fix Jones before the next coach-in-waiting joins him behind the bench.

Here are some other thoughts and notes from around the NHL...

- I don't anticipate ever finding out what it was that head coach Jim Montgomery did to get fired in Dallas. I don't feel comfortable speculating on that stuff -- and I don't think we should -- but that's not a story I see breaking out of Dallas anytime soon. The Stars have basically told us everything they feel comfortable telling us, and the only updates that have come out since then have been "I can confirm that it was not for [insert guess here]." If it were a Canadian market, however, I have a feeling we would have known within the first hour of the story breaking. The Stars are constantly in the shadow of JerryWorld. That's both good and bad, depending on your viewpoint.

- After watching Wednesday's game between the top two teams in the Eastern Conference, and after watching last Saturday's Bruins-Avalanche game, I'm pretty comfortable saying that the Bruins desperately need to get a serious second-line right wing if they want to be a serious threat for the Stanley Cup next spring. They do have a built-in fix of sorts with Charlie Coyle, of course, who could move from third-line center to second-line right wing. But that would simply change discussion to the Bruins needing a third-line center if they want to be legit in 2020.

- If I'm talking pure entertainment-wise, I'd love to see Taylor Hall land with the Avalanche. I still wonder if the Avs have the goods in net to make it to the fourth round. That division is an absolute nightmare, and it's going to be a bar fight in April and May. Hall would certainly provide a lift that may force teams to change how they try to emerge out of the Central.

- If it ended today, the Buffalo Sabres, with more losses than wins this year, would begin the postseason with home-ice advantage as the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Division. They'd face off against the 36-point Canadiens, too, who also have just 36 points this year. Both the Flyers and Penguins, the East's two wild cards right now, are better. This playoff format stinks.

Ty Anderson is a writer, columnist, and weird personality for 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, where he covers all things Boston sports. He has been covering the National Hockey League for HockeyBuzz.com since 2010, and has also been part of the Boston Chapter of the PHWA since 2013. In addition to writing, Ty can occasionally be heard on the air at 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston, and seen and/or heard on the NHL Network every now and then. He will not give you his email, so yell at him on Twitter (@_TyAnderson).
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