Luckily for them, rookie goaltender Martin Jones made the trip to St. Louis from Manchester, N.H., without any weather delays. He was recalled to fill the role of Jonathan Quick’s backup after Ben Scrivens was traded to the Edmonton Oilers for a third-round pick in this year’s entry draft.
Jones and forward Linden Vey arrived in St. Louis on Wednesday night and both were on the ice Thursday for the team’s morning skate in advance of Thursday night’s game against the Blues at the Scottrade Center. It didn’t appear that Vey would be in the lineup — he stayed out late for extra work, as did Tanner Pearson — but Jones will dress as the backup.
Jones, of course, had a sensational debut with the Kings and was 8-0-0 with a 0.98 goals-against average, .966 save percentage and three shutouts in his first eight NHL games. He was the league’s co-rookie of the month for December — but he was assigned on Manchester on Jan. 5, after it was evident that Quick had recovered from a groin injury.
“It’s been a hectic day so far. Happy to be back,” said Jones, whose overall numbers for his first callup were a record of 8-3-0 with a 1.41 goals-against average, .950 save percentage and three shutouts.
“Obviously, I’m aware of the situation here but you never know what can happen. I’ve just got to be prepared to play whenever I’m called upon. If that takes me to the end of the year, that’s great. If not, I’m going to work hard while I’m here.”
Jones’ rapid development made it easier for the Kings to trade Scrivens, who can become an unrestricted free agent after the season.
“It’s nice they have that confidence in me. I got a taste of it last time and it’s good motivation to get back here and want to stay here,” Jones said. “I’ve just got to make sure that I keep working and doing the things that have made me successful here….
“I’m happy to be back here but you never know what can happen. I don’t want to take anything for granted here. I’ve just got to make sure I continue to work hard and continue to build up my game and win some hockey games up here.”
Coach Darryl Sutter said he talked to Jones and Vey after they got to St. Louis.
“These kids, they understand numbers and salary caps and 23-man rosters. They understand that,” he said. “Marty, when he was here before, he came in and played really well, and he was average when he left. He’s a kid. Now you put him in that role where he can get his games but he can work on his game too.”