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Maple Leafs’ Addition of Jones Draws Talk of Possible Waiver Claim

The Toronto Maple Leafs signed Martin Jones to a one-year, one-way contract, but will they lose him on waivers?

In a move aimed at bolstering their goaltending depth, the Toronto Maple Leafs have inked a one-year contract worth $875,000 with netminder Martin Jones. He went 27-13-3 with a 2.99 GAA, .886 SV% & 3 SO in 48 games (42 starts) with the Kraken in 2022-23. It’s the career-worst .886 save percentage and troubling minus-21.4 goals saved above average that led the Seattle Kraken and GM Ron Francis to let him leave in free agency.

With the intention of securing reliable backup options for Ilya Samsonov and Joseph Woll, the Leafs turned to Jones as none of their budding prospects in the Leafs’ farm system were deemed prepared. It’s a sound move, should the signing pan out and Jones be successfully assigned while awaiting an opportunity to contribute. But, because Jones is unlikely to be part of a three-headed goalie monster in Toronto, someone is getting placed on waivers.

Steve Dangle from SDPN suggests it might be Jones, as placing Woll on waivers will likely lead to a waiver claim. That said, Scott Wheeler of The Athletic speculates that Jones might attract a waiver claim in October and the Maple Leafs could lose him too.

Related: Doesn’t Maple Leafs GM Brad Treliving Trust Joseph Woll?

Because Jones was part of the reason the Seattle Kraken made the playoffs last season, it wouldn’t come as a shock if a team saw him as a viable backup option. He might not clear if placed on waivers at his $875K salary. That would mean the Leafs have to start all over again in their search for a third-string backstop or go with Keith Petruzzelli, something the team was clearly not comfortable doing.

Amid whispers of conversations with Brian Elliott, the Leafs clearly sought a seasoned veteran for their third-string goalie position. It will be intriguing to see if this Jones thing doesn’t work out if the Maple Leafs go back to that well or look at another similar player.

What If Jones Clears Waivers?

Should he clear, Jones’ assignment to the AHL Marlies membership grants him access to an extensive NHL training and development team, as well as his full $875K NHL salary. It will be considered a smart move and when he clears once, he won’t need to clear again.

Meanwhile, with both Samsonov and Woll prone to injuries, the probability of Jones stepping onto the ice for the Maple Leafs remains high, considering the tendency to prioritize in-form goalies.

Next: “90-Some Percent Chance” Both McDavid and Draisaitl Stay w/ Oilers

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