The Boston Bruins acquired a backup for Tuukka Rask in former LA Kings backup Martin Jones during the blockbuster deal that sent left wing Milan Lucic to the SoCal club for a fist round pick, Jones, and a defensive prospect.
Now, they’ve flipped the goalie.
Per Elliotte Friedman of Hockey Night in Canada, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney is sending Jones to the San Jose Sharks, where he’ll return to California as a potential rival of his old team for the 2015-2016 season.
The deal is good for San Jose no matter the return, because the club is desperately in need of a bona fide starter. Alex Stalock plays a solid attack-first game, but still needs a bit of refinement in terms of how he reacts to second saves before he’ll look like a reliable starter — at least, in the eyes of those who favor an in-net game over his style of play. A tandem of Jones and Stalock, though, would be beneficial to San Jose in a way that they haven’t seen their goaltending be since two seasons ago — the club needs more stability in net than a tandem of Niemi and Stalock was able to provide so this could be their first big step towards success.
For the Bruins, the trade isn’t ideal — but if they’ve gone full rebuild, holding on to an extremely high-market-value goaltender would be a poor decision (at least, as a backup). Rask could make it through a rebuild, but they’d be playing goalie circus by next year anyway if Jones truly wanted to be a starter.
The return they got is about as impressive as they were going to receive for a former backup goaltender.
With Jones headed to the Sharks (who are reportedly already working on a deal for him), the Bruins are getting a 2016 first round pick and forward Sean Kuraly. Kuraly, drafted in the fifth round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, was the third highest goal scorer on the University of Miami-Ohio roster as a junior in 2014-2015 (he recorded nineteen goals in forty contests) and played with recent Boston Bruins signee Austin Czarnik (who played at Miami-Ohio with Reilly Smith).
It’s actually a fairly high yielding trade for the goaltender, and could be good for Boston down the line. One thing is certain though — with a pick and a prospect not prepared for the NHL, Boston is headed down rebuild lane.