Ryan Jones is a complete wildcard in regard to the Edmonton Oilers roster. He has size (6.01, 206) and plays with a lot of energy; he has some offensive ability (15 goals in 95 NHL games) and he can play either wing.
Jones has a fairly lengthy injury list for a player of his age (26). Jones earlier this year: “It’s my first so-called healthy summer since I’ve been out of college. It’s a summer where I can develop — get bigger and faster.”
Jones is not considered an outstanding 2-way player, but it is difficult to resist slotting him in the “Pisani-Grier” role on the 10-11 team (failing a trade) due to lack of experienced candidates. Based on his scouting report, he would be miscast as a checker.
Which means we’re talking about a skill line or a 4th line energy role. On the 4line, he will be in competition for playing time with names like Andrew Cogliano, JF Jacques, Linus Omark, Zack Stortini and Steve MacIntyre. The skill line competition is covered below.
- Boxcars: 49gp, 8-4-12
- Shots: 62
- Plus Minus: Even
- Corsi (Rel): -3.3
- GF GA ON: 15-14
- 5×5/60: 1.21
- 5×4/60: 2.47
- Cap Hit: $975,000 (UFA 2011)
- What do these numbers tell us? Not a lot, he played for two different teams and scored 8 goals in half a season with the one that let him go. We can’t really use the qual comp numbers because he played with two teams last year. I do think there’s some offensive ability there and if he could manage a powerforward role (Jones: “They said they didn’t really have a ton of guys that fit my role. A power forward, goes to the net — that’s what they picked me up for.”) and be aware enough defensively its possible he could develop into a top 6 forward. Its a long shot, though.
- How could these numbers be better? They’re pretty good for a role player (10:21 a night). Jones played about 6 hours in the NHL last season, an hour of that time on the PP. So, 8 goals is a fairly nice output based on those factors. There’s some juice here.
- So you do see him in an offensive role. Not really, but there’s something about him that we should be aware of offensively. He’s a robust player, has some size, and if his hands are soft enough to cash from the goal mouth on the PP it gives the team another option. He did score a couple of powerplay goals in Nashville.
- He scored a lot in college. He did score well in college, with seasons of 22, 29 and 31 goals. He was in a Hobey race too, so there’s a nice story to tell.
- Nashville is stacked on both wings. I don’t know about stacked, but if you were building a case for Jones as an offensive winger you could argue his chances were diminished because of the depth chart. Hornqvist, Sullivan, Erat and Dumont all scored 45+ points a year ago and Jones wasn’t going to crack that group.
- Jones as a top 6 forward? How could that happen? Penner and Hemsky will take 2 slots, and Taylor Hall gets first rip based on pedigree and the fact we know the Oilers will want their new Golden Boy to succeed in a big way. After that, we have Brule (possibly moved to center); Pääjärvi (likely to get a look at some point); Cogliano (the organization might want to give him a last chance to deliver offensively); Eberle (also a possible center). It is a crowded group but no one owns that 2line RW job outright at this time.
- How does he score goals? Ryan Smyth style, off people’s butts, tap-ins, deflections. He has something else in common with Smyth too.
- If he’s on a scoring line, who is on the checking line with Fraser? God only knows. Jones might not be an ideal candidate for any of the roles we’re talking about but his resume suggests he’s better suited for a skill role.
- What would have to happen to make this possible? If he scored 2 in the first pre-season game playing alongside Gagner and Pääjärvi then he’d get another shot deeper into the pre-season. If he does that enough–and brings a physical edge on a line with one of the offensive kids–then he might have a window of opportunity that rolls into the regular season.
- How important is Jones to the organization? Not at all important. He’s making less than a million and if he falls flat in camp they could send him out and keep a guy like Reddox. Having said that, there’s something about Ryan Jones.
Interesting player offers interesting options