Welcome to the Los Angeles Kings Prospect Update, a weekly feature highlighting a prospect in the Los Angeles Kings system.
The Kings currently own the league rights of 44 players outside of the NHL, including Professional players in Europe, Junior players and players in college. Click here to see the 2008-09 LA Kings Prospect Roster.
This week’s highlighted prospect is 18-year-old Martin Jones, currently playing for the WHL Calgary Hitmen. In a 2-0 win Jan. 3, the North Vancouver, BC native had his first shutout of the week and fourth of the year when he blanked the Kootenay Ice, stopping all 31 shots he faced. The following night Jones again recorded a shutout when he stopped all 19 shots in a 6-0 rout of the Medicine Hat Tigers. Having gone 182:35 now without allowing a goal, Jones has helped the Hitmen to take 11 straight over their opponents. Boasting a 25-3-2 record in 31 starts, the 6-3, 181-pound goaltender holds the league leads in four categories with 25 wins, a 1.92 goals against average, five shutouts and a save percentage of .922. The Hitmen sit atop the WHL with a record of 36-5-2 for 74 points, a dominant lead over the next team in their conference, the Saskatoon Blades with 57 points.
"The big thing for Jones was going into Calgary this year and becoming a legitimate No. 1 and I think he has taken a great step as far as doing that this year," said Kings Goaltending Coach Bill Ranford. "The most important thing about being a No. 1 goalie is consistency and he has shown that throughout the year this season.
“I know that Calgary’s coaching staff is really happy with him and he has proven that he is a legitimate No. 1 in the league this year. At the end of this junior season once he is finished, there may be a possibility if there is an opening for him to move up into the American League. Until that point Calgary has an opportunity to go pretty far in the playoffs this year.”
Jones was eligible but undrafted during the 2008 NHL Entry Draft, after which the Los Angeles Kings invited him to training camp. Impressing everyone with his mature style of play, Jones signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Kings on Oct. 2, 2008 before re-joining his junior hockey team in Calgary. Prior to signing with the Kings, Jones played 27 games with Calgary during the 2007-08 season, posting an 18-8-1 record, a 2.12 goals against average, a .911 save percentage and one shutout. Jones was the Hitmen Rookie of the Year in 2007 and was named to Team British Columbia for the 2007 Canada Winter Games.
“He is a big body and the important thing is for him to utilize that big body. One of the things that we talked to him a lot about in training camp, and that he has been working on, is not constantly blocking, trying to react more from his feet. Having a little bit more patience and learning to read the shooters better, those were the key areas that we sent him back to juniors with.
“I know he has worked real hard on it.”
Click here for the statistics on all of the Los Angeles Kings 2008-09 Prospects.