The Edmonton Oilers and Ryan Jones are negotiating a contract as I write this item. Jones has fallen ass over tea kettle into perfect timing and the Oilers brain trust is extremely likely to overpay. Jones and his agent have already rejected an early proposal, suggesting supreme confidence from their side.
What exactly does Jones do? I’m not talking so much about the one-off goal total, but more about his role on the team. The Oilers always talk about “three scoring lines” but in reality this team could use some actual NHL players with an idea about the importance of what you leave.
Is Jones that player? If not, can he supply enough pop to bat in the middle of the order, or at the very least keep the line going when hitting in the 6 or 7 slot?
That’s the question Edmonton must ask itself. How much money is Ryan Jones worth?
- 5×5 points per 60: 1.38 (7th among regular forwards)
- 5×4 points per 60: 3.63 (4th among regular forwards)
- Qual Comp: 10th toughest faced among regular forwards
- Qual Team: 10th best available teammates among regular forwards
- Corsi Rel: -11.1 (worst among regular forwards)
- Zone Start: 49.7% (8th easiest among regular forwards)
- Zone Finish: 49.4% (11th best among regular forwards)
- Shots on goal/percentage: 126/14.3% (2nd among F’s)
- Boxcars: 81gp, 18-7-25
- Plus Minus: -5 on a team that was -52
- What do these numbers tell us? Ryan Jones and his 14.3 shooting percentage were in the right place at the right time a helluva lot this season. Although his previous NHL shooting percentages (11.11 and 12.90) were solid and his college rates (16.54, 19.59 and 17.92) as a regular suggest some shooting skills Jones is extremly unlikely to reproduce at this season’s percentage.
- How could these numbers be better? They can’t. Jones scored 15 goals at even strength, tied with men like Teemu Selanne and David Booth. Jones scored his 15 EV goals in 881 minutes, Selanne took 1055 minutes and Booth 1302. His relCorsi could be better, but his -5 tells us he didn’t pay for that either. He was walking on sunshine.
- Was there no hint what all that he had some offensive ability? Sure there was. In the 10-11 RE pre-season item I wrote “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.” And that’s exactly what happened, although at 5×5.
- So he’ll never score 18 again? I’m not saying that. I’m saying he’ll never score 18 again while boasting a 14.3 shooting percentage and oh by the way bury 15 of them in 881 minutes at EVs while also playing with Andrew Cogliano and Liam Reddox. I mean, this is impossible. Ryan Jones finished the season in the league’s top 40 shooters by percentage. He finished 1.04/goals per 60 minutes at 5×5, same as Marian Gaborik.
- Can he check? Tom Renney rolled 4 lines like the lord told him to do it, so we don’t know how he’d be used on a contending team. Jones has some PF qualities and you can see how he could help a good team in a support role: chipping in some goals, playing with energy and playing well without the puck.
- I don’t see why you’re being critical. He had a great season. I’m not critical–I’m incredulous! There’s a real question about his being able to repeat this again next year.
- So what’s the problem? The contract that he rejected and the offer to follow, along with counting on him to repeat his 18 goal season. I’d be fine with a signed Jones at a reasonable cost and the Oilers putting him on a support line but if they pay him plenty there’s going to be a temptation to use him on the PP and a more featured role.
- So you want him to play the same minutes and with the same quality of teammates as last season? Along with the same expectations we had a year ago.
- Done. Right. Let’s wait for the contract.