ALONG CAME JONES

One of the key elements for improvement in 2013-14 is going to be the third line. Craig MacTavish sent away Shawn Horcoff and replaced him with Boyd Gordon, and flushed Eric Belanger, Lennart Petrell while retaining Ryan Smyth and Ryan Jones. Jesse Joensuu was acquired and he also may be a factor.

I think Jones is the key. If the Oilers don’t trade Ales Hemsky, they have 2/3′s of a pretty damn good line here. Jones, or Ryan Smyth or Jesse Joensuu might be the third, and Craig MacTavish has mentioned “Ryan Jones” and “third line” in the same sentence.

In the thread below, there was an exchange between Radman, myself and Bruce McCurdy. We’re discussing Ryan Jones, his 2013-14 season and his role.

  • Radman: Jonesy said in the interview his vision is fine which is great. The biggest barrier might be psychological in terms of playing physical. He strikes me like he has something to prove to himself and others. Suspect he has a good year. You ?
  • Lowetide: Depends on role. I think they got him for scoring on the secondary lines–a good bet–but the defensive responsibilities on the Gordon line will be significant–zone starts, etc. That’s a tough job, don’t know if he’ll handle it well. I suspect MacT originally had a tough minutes winger in mind, but Hemsky staying changes the line’s makeup.
  • Bruce McCurdy: Jones is used to tough zone starts. In 2011-12 he had the toughest ZS of any winger on the team, & in 2013 he was 2nd or 3rd toughest depending on how you view Smyth’s status as a sometimes-C. In the first of those two years Jones also faced tough comp, a lot of it on a line with Horcoff & Smyth in what would be a similar role for Gordon’s line. Superficially he did pretty OK with that assignment, although of course we then need to apply Jones’ Law which states that anything bad that happened when Jones was on the ice was entirely his fault, while anything good that happened was due to his great linemates coming through despite the drag of a boat anchor in their midst.

Okay. I want to have this conversation. McCurdy’s the only one bringing facts, and he’s right. Here are the Vollman Sledgehammer’s for the last two seasons:

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER 2011-12

VOLLMAN JONES 11-12

Click on that puppy and it comes right up. Jones is in the toughest shut down quadrant with a small negative, it’s not at all a bad place to be on the graph. Horcoff is way up on the far left, he’s at Shawshank asking to take a piss. Omark is in the soft quadrant with a big white bubble, Hall is glorious in the two way quadrant with a big blue sky.

VOLLMAN SLEDGEHAMMER 2012-13

vollman jones 12-13

This is last season, the Murderer’s row MacT has offed begins with Belanger, runs through Petrell and Hartikainen–keeps Smyth and Jones, smites Smithson and then goes on to the end of the milk run at Lander. Eager’s up north, we assume many miles from the river (this could be a map of prairie towns, it’s kind of incredible).

Ryan Jones 10-11

  • 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

Ryan Jones 11-12

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.46 (tied for 7th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 5.40 (3rd among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 7th toughest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: tied for 8th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: -2.9 (9th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 44.6% (3rd toughest, 12th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 48.6% (9th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 137/12.4% (4th among F’s >100shots)
  • Boxcars: 79, 17-16-33
  • Plus Minus: -7 on a team that was -26

Ryan Jones 12-13

  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.38 (7th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: nil
  • Qual Comp: 14th toughest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: 5th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: -1.0 (5th best among regular forwards) (-13.85 CorsiON)
  • Zone Start: 45.4% (10th toughest, 6th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 46.8% (12th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 38/5.26% (8th among F’s >35shots)
  • Boxcars: 25, 2-5-7
  • Plus Minus: E on a team that was -15

Why would MacT do that? Why would he keep Jones? What does he see–maybe from the graph above–that makes him believe Jones can fill a role (possibly the 3line L or R role on the Oilers)? Because I’ll say this: if you keep Jones, then putting Hemsky on the other side doesn’t make a lot of sense in my opinion.

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48 Responses to "ALONG CAME JONES"

  1. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    “Why would MacT do that? Why would he keep Jones?”

    The more I think about it, the more MacT’s iconic line starts to illuminate this decision:

    “We have to add some specific role players. In today’s NHL you have to be a threat to score at some point, even marginally. We had a lot of guys who really… the best they were going to be in any given game was a non-factor. There wasn’t a lot of upside for our role players to significantly help us. But, the few times that they did, we ended up winning those games. We have to get more impact out of our bottom-six forwards, so we will try to improve that.”

    I think MacT is looking squarely at one number here

    “7th among regular forwards”

    From a points = roster spot POV, 7th equals 3rd line.

    I think MacT is looking at Jones as a guy who can make his own offence to some degree and can score. I don’t think he’s looking at possession numbers, zone starts, or thinking about defensive responsibility. I think he’s thinking “Jones can score, I need that in my bottom 6.”

  2. Lowetide says:

    Rom: But if that’s the case, and I’m not arguing, then Hemsky is the odd man out. Because an offensive Jones and an offensive Hemsky means Gordon is not going to have enough help.

  3. HBomb says:

    If they kept Jones with the intention on playing him at 4RW with Smyth and Lander (or, ideally, a more experienced 4C), that would seem like an acceptable move (even if the dollars are a few hundred thousand too high for such a player, because it is only a one year deal).

    However, if he was brought back as a solution as one of the third-line wingers? Simply not good enough. Period. If they’re keeping Hemsky and thinking Gordon can play a “2006 Shawn Horcoff lite” role with 83 (center who is strong without the puck and can take on toughs), that line is going to need a better left-wing option.

    Depth is not a bad thing – putting Jones on the 4th line represents a guy in a position to succeed. 3rd line? Not so much…

  4. Young Oil says:

    With the Philly cap situation, do you think we could get Max Talbot for cheap? Maybe for a mid round pick and a middling prospect? He’d look great in our bottom 6.

  5. D says:

    Go Jones!!!

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Hemsky back with the Oil in September either.

  6. Lowetide says:

    HBomb:
    If they kept Jones with the intention on playing him at 4RW with Smyth and Lander (or, ideally, a more experienced 4C), that would seem like an acceptable move (even if the dollars are a few hundred thousand too high for such a player, because it is only a one year deal).

    However, if he was brought back as a solution as one of the third-line wingers? Simply not good enough.Period.If they’re keeping Hemsky and thinking Gordon can play a “2006 Shawn Horcoff lite” role with 83 (center who is strong without the puck and can take on toughs), that line is going to need a better left-wing option.

    Depth is not a bad thing – putting Jones on the 4th line represents a guy in a position to succeed. 3rd line?Not so much…

    But that’s my question, HBomb. Given the choice of having a more offensive player on the 3line, you’d run Hemsky, and so would I.

    I don’t think MacT sees it that way. I can’t marry a Gordon-Jones-Hemsky line being able to play straight up. If it had Winnik on one of the wings, then I could see the line doing things.

    Now? It looks to me like Gordon is going to center two offensive wingers. What am I missing?

  7. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: But if that’s the case, and I’m not arguing, then Hemsky is the odd man out. Because an offensive Jones and an offensive Hemsky means Gordon is not going to have enough help.

    Well… there are a couple of possibles here:

    1. maybe MacT sees Jones as more fluid an operator than his language (re: Jones, 3rd line)
    2. maybe MacT doesn’t see any problems with a line of Gordon-Jones-Hemsky
    3. most likely when Jones was signed, MacT was still under the impression Hemsky would be gone, an impression he may still be under… maybe it’s just taking longer than he thought

  8. Lowetide says:

    Rom. 3. I believe you’re correct. It’s #3.

  9. speeds says:

    Maybe, and I can already hear the complaints for even throwing the idea out there, they are looking at Hall-Gordon-Hemsky?

  10. Lowetide says:

    speeds:
    Maybe, and I can already hear the complaints for even throwing the idea out there, they are looking at Hall-Gordon-Hemsky?

    I’d feel better about that line than the current thoughts for 3line. Hall and Hemsky could have wild chem and Gordon’s there playing the Horcoff role. Frankly, that’s a relief.

    THAT would mean three scoring lines! (spits)

  11. supernova says:

    If Jones finally lays a few bodychecks maybe he is that effective 3rd / 4th line winger that we need, if he can score once every 5 games. If Jones doesn’t hit and pinches out at the blueline for chances, He was a poor gamble to return.

    It seems to me MacT only brought Jones back once he seen what the Hendricks and Nystrom contracts were at. Going 4 years and 1.8 to 2.5 million for 4 years seem like bad bets.

    He is gambling on Jones being better, I would have preferred him gambling on someone else but also glad he didn’t extend a long term and above $1.5 million in cap space on this type of player.

  12. Jordan says:

    Lowetide: But that’s my question, HBomb. Given the choice of having a more offensive player on the 3line, you’d run Hemsky, and so would I.

    I don’t think MacT sees it that way. I can’t marry a Gordon-Jones-Hemsky line being able to play straight up. If it had Winnik on one of the wings, then I could see the line doing things.

    Now? It looks to me like Gordon is going to center two offensive wingers. What am I missing?

    You’re right – it doesn’t make sense from a conventional team design standpoint.

    However, your premise is that Godron is centering Jones and Hemmer. What if he’s not? What if Jones and Hemsky are going to play on the 4th line and try to kill the butterworths?

    One of my fellow posters was suggesting Acro centre a 4th line with Hemsky and Jones on it in the last thread.

    Smyth – Gordon – Jonesuu
    Jones – Arcobello/Lander – Hemsky

    I don’t think it’s a good plan, but it’s possible.

    I think it’s more likely there’s another shoe to drop.

    After he gets back from holidays?

    Edit: Either that or MacT is simply going to run the horses he’s got and see how they run with a coach who actually line matches, an improved (read: without Whitney) D corps and see how they perform. The coach can figure the lines out on his own.

  13. BG14 says:

    Not sure I understand the hate for Jones from the numbers guys. In 11/12 he’s given a very tough role, and comes away from it not looking terrible (basically Horcoff-lite type of results) in addition to potting a ton of goals for a guy in his slot. Then in 12/13 he’s given a more reasonable role, and comes out with the 5th best CorsiRel on the team (so 2nd best among non-Hall/RNH/Eberle skaters). Where does the “Jones is a possesion black hole” meme come from? I understand the seen-him-bad argument for it, and in fact I agree. His play along the boards in the D-zone is not good enough, he flies early far too often. That said, looking at the numbers he appears to be a reasonable fit on that third line, especially with two superior players in Gordon/Hemsky to help him along.

  14. theres oil in virginia says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: Well… there are a couple of possibles here:

    1. maybe MacT sees Jones as more fluid an operator than his language (re: Jones, 3rd line)
    2. maybe MacT doesn’t see any problems with a line of Gordon-Jones-Hemsky
    3. most likely when Jones was signed, MacT was still under the impression Hemsky would be gone, an impression he may still be under… maybe it’s just taking longer than he thought

    Or maybe they’re signing Grabovski as 3-line C to play between Jones and Hemsky for a 3rd scoring line!

    No? Well, maybe I could make that happen if I bought NHL13 and did some rearranging.

  15. Wolfpack says:

    Heard an interview with Jones where he stated that he promised MacT that he would be harder to play against. Knows he needs to be more physical and harder on the puck. And if that was the conversation they had, then I tend to think that MacT will expect a strong two-way game out of Jones. Despite the fact that Ryan Jones has really yet to demonstrate that he is that player.

    Maybe we are over-thinking this, and the new coach plans on mostly playing power versus power? Maybe we see the Oilers third line mostly playing against other teams’ third lines, and MacT is in fact looking for some offence from the bottom six. Otherwise I can’t really justify Jones on a checking line either.

  16. supernova says:

    theres oil in virginia: Or maybe they’re signing Grabovski as 3-line C to play between Jones and Hemsky for a 3rd scoring line!

    No?Well, maybe I could make that happen if I bought NHL13 and did some rearranging.

    If your Grabovski wouldn’t you want to go to Islanders on a 1 year deal.

    much better opportunity there or even in Florida then Edmonton, unless Edmonton trades Gagner.

  17. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    supernova: theres oil in virginia: Or maybe they’re signing Grabovski as 3-line C to play between Jones and Hemsky for a 3rd scoring line!
    No?Well, maybe I could make that happen if I bought NHL13 and did some rearranging.
    If your Grabovski wouldn’t you want to go to Islanders on a 1 year deal.
    much better opportunity there or even in Florida then Edmonton, unless Edmonton trades Gagner.

    Yea… Grabo isn’t coming unless it is for 2C TOI.

    And… Gordon is getting a lot of cake if he’s our 4C… he probably also got some assurance about TOI.

  18. Lowetide says:

    BG: The problem I have with Jones is this: he’s an offensive player but not the best option for offense, and the role he would fill on a 3rd checking line (Pisani role) is also not ideal for him.

    I absolutely believe that’s what the healthy scratches were about this past season. Jones is an offensive player on a team with #1 overalls out the wazoo, and he’s in the spot in the batting order where Daniel Winnick should be right now.

    It’s not his fault, but my thought process always landed on ‘bad management decisions.’

    Craig MacTavish isn’t a dummy. I’m not prepared to agree that he decided to do good works everywhere but on this one point he ‘let it slide’ that’s just not MacT.

    So. What am I missing? I think Rom’s #3 is the answer.

  19. Captain Smarmy says:

    supernova: If your Grabovski wouldn’t you want to go to Islanders on a 1 year deal.

    much better opportunity there or even in Florida then Edmonton, unless Edmonton trades Gagner.

    Whoaaa there. I have it on good authority that Florida has like four centers (at minimum) that are better then Gagner.

  20. theres oil in virginia says:

    supernova,
    Sorry, that wasn’t a real suggestion, just being lighthearted.

    Jordan,
    Yeah, I seem to remember days when the 4th line had young guys on it who had offensive chops, but couldn’t yet handle the complete game. Lately it seems like all we see on the 4th line are duds.

    EDIT: And by “duds” I don’t mean: “spiffy new duds” either. I mean: “Aw man, those firecrackers are duds.”

  21. supernova says:

    Captain Smarmy: Whoaaa there. I have it on good authority that Florida has like four centers (at minimum) that are better then Gagner.

    Captain Smarmy,

    I think your guy should get his eyes and head checked if Florida has 4 (minimum) better than Gagner.

    Florida could arguably have 4 FWD’s close to Gagner.

    Florida has really good up and coming Center depth but not very proven yet.

    In a year or two I might agree with that but not even close right now.

  22. Numenius says:

    Lowetide: I’d feel better about that line than the current thoughts for 3line. Hall and Hemsky could have wild chem and Gordon’s there playing the Horcoff role. Frankly, that’s a relief.

    THAT would mean three scoring lines! (spits)

    I’d feel a lot better about that line too.

    Would you then put Jones with RNH and Eberle? Or maybe Joenssu?

    That could be what maximizes scoring productivity all around (as long as the RNH line gets some shelter).

  23. Kris11 says:

    I am now cautiously optimistic that MacT will pick up another option or two for the bottom two lines before the season starts. (Maybe even on waivers after camps end.)

    They aren’t at 50 contracts nor the cap. There are enough players to man the roster (assuming Gagner is signed) but there isn’t a lot of depth for injuries and competition at forward, like there is on D. So there is clearly, as we all see, a need for forwards (even only for injury and internal competition) and there will be a supply of them as UFA’s get antsy. Moreover the makeup of the team at D suggests that MacT likes depth in general and is likely to want to buy some for the bottom 6.

  24. "Steve Smith" says:

    Captain Smarmy: Whoaaa there. I have it on good authority that Florida has like four centers (at minimum) that are better then Gagner.

    My sources say that they’d have five better than Gagner if they’d just sign Wellwood.

  25. BG14 says:

    Lowetide,

    This is essentially my viewpoint as well, but I like to use the stats to augment my own viewing, rather than as the main piece of the pie. I know you’re not a pure stats guy, so my question wasn’t purely directed at you. It’s just something that I’ve never understood.

    I don’t really see the need for a dedicated checking line though, as I envision 4-93-14 (or 93-4-14 for you) playing the PVP role again this year, probably to an even larger extent. I think Jones-Gordon-Hemsky can handle second toughs with the tough ZS as well. Not to mention the fact that 57-89-64 shouldn’t need to be sheltered either. Everything by committee, that’s my thought on how the roster might be deployed anyways.

  26. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”: My sources say that they’d have five better than Gagner if they’d just sign Wellwood.

    If they get 11 more, they’ll be halfway to Minnesota!

  27. Romulus Apotheosis says:

    Lowetide: So. What am I missing? I think Rom’s #3 is the answer.

    If that is the answer… we have to wonder how committed MacT is to it now?

    Maybe the calculation changed when the Market dried up for Hemsky? Maybe the calculation is to wait until the deadline now to move him (barring something coming up)?

    And… maybe that changes the calculation re: Jones? maybe with Hemsky staying, #1 is now in play, i.e., Jones is now on the 4th line?

    Gordon-Smyth-Hemsky
    Lander-Jones-Joensuu/Brown

  28. "Steve Smith" says:

    Lowetide,

    Minnesota is going to win the Stanley Cup last year.

  29. Lowetide says:

    BG14:
    Lowetide,

    This is essentially my viewpoint as well, but I like to use the stats to augment my own viewing, rather than as the main piece of the pie. I know you’re not a pure stats guy, so my question wasn’t purely directed at you. It’s just something that I’ve never understood.

    I don’t really see the need for a dedicated checking line though, as I envision 4-93-14 (or 93-4-14 for you) playing the PVP role again this year, probably to an even larger extent. I think Jones-Gordon-Hemsky can handle second toughs with the tough ZS as well. Not to mention the fact that 57-89-64 shouldn’t need to be sheltered either. Everything by committee, that’s my thought on how the roster might be deployed anyways.

    Actually, I’d describe myself as a fan of math but would always prefer to see the player and add the math.

  30. Lowetide says:

    Romulus Apotheosis: If that is the answer… we have to wonder how committed MacT is to it now?

    Maybe the calculation changed when the Market dried up for Hemsky? Maybe the calculation is to wait until the deadline now to move him (barring something coming up)?

    And… maybe that changes the calculation re: Jones? maybe with Hemsky staying, #1 is now in play, i.e., Jones is now on the 4th line?

    Gordon-Smyth-Hemsky
    Lander-Jones-Joensuu/Brown

    Well, I think he has to decide

    1. If he can afford to keep Hemsky on the roster now if
    2. he can improve the roster in supprt players now

  31. Lowetide says:

    “Steve Smith”:
    Lowetide,

    Minnesota is going to win the Stanley Cup last year.

    As Bob Dylan said tastes awful and it works!

  32. Lois Lowe says:

    I think that MacT just believes that Eakins will make a difference on players like Jones and that he’s shown that he’s got some offence to his game. All of the players jettisoned this summer just didn’t score, Jones at least has a track record of doing that much.

    The bet isn’t on Jones, it’s on Eakins.

  33. Racki says:

    Lowetide:
    Rom: But if that’s the case, and I’m not arguing, then Hemsky is the odd man out. Because an offensive Jones and an offensive Hemsky means Gordon is not going to have enough help.

    Eakins said it best, and I’m paraphrasing here, but there’s no reason why players can’t be committed to both ends of the ice. Sure, there are situations where a guy could get caught deep in the offensive zone, but for the most part, I don’t see why Jones and Hemsky can’t use some wheels to hustle back when required.

    But I think Eakins is right.. really, being an offensive player (if you can call Jones that.. I think he’s a bit of a jack of all trades) is not an excuse to relax defensively.

    None of us really analyse players and say “this guy is an offensive player, so let’s pick him up even though he can’t play defense for sh–” so there’s no reason to think that a guy like Jones or Hemsky can’t play a decent defensive game just because they’re trying to score too. This is something these guys all need to buy into, and I’m pretty sure Eakins will divvy up the most ice time to the guys that do buy into it.

  34. hags9k says:

    Gordon – Cleary/Winnik/Raymond – Boyes
    Z. Smith – Smytty – Jones
    Joensuu, Brown

    Either keep Hemmer and play Lander or else trade for 4C and let Lander marinade*, but this blog is on point, we still need another NHL winger. (3LW) I love Joneszy but him on the 3line seems risky.

    *MMmm BBQ…

  35. gr8one says:

    In my ideal world where we’re keeping Hemsky and targeting the UFA market still, I’d be hoping for both Peter Mueller and Dan Cleary.

    the lines would look something like,

    Hall Nuge Eberle
    Perron Gagner Yakupov
    Joensuu Mueller Hemsky
    Jones Gordon Cleary

    That first line could be power vs power, the Jones Gordon Cleary line would do all of the the other heavy lifting and those middle two lines could sweep up against the soft parade.

  36. Alex T says:

    Dear Coach Eakins,

    Please don’t put Ales Hemsky on a checking (czeching?) line. He won’t be happy. He will display poor body language and be the first to leave practice (oh, never mind).

    Please make the checking line: Gordon, Lander and Jones. Make them defense first. Offense only as a bonus. Play them against the other team’s best. Make Lander study Gordon until he too can be a real shut down center.

    Please make the fourth line: Arcobello, Smyth and Hemsky. Play them against the other team’s coke machines and give them the night off when playing big teams. They will hate that and work hard to prove you wrong. And on those nights off, Hemsky will display poor body language and leave practice first. Best just get used to that.

    If this fourth line has it’s way with the other team’s coke machines, then Hemsky’s value will be much higher by the trade deadline. Maybe Smyth will also want a crack at one more shot with a contender.

    It’s way too much money for a fourth line, but, since you got em, might as well use em.

  37. gcw_rocks says:

    If Hemsky bleeds shot differential like last season and Jones is parked on the other wing, the third line could bring the whole team down , especially without a true shutdown pairing on defence.

  38. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Half a day late and a million dollars short, while I was putting this together for the last thread an entire new thread started up on the same subject. So I’ll break my usual rule and re-post it here:

    ***

    Here’s a selection of Ryan Jones’ “defensive” stats, be they role-specific or simply record actions when not in possession of the puck. I’m recording his rank on the team among those 14 or so forwards who played over half of Oilers’ games during each of his three full seasons here.

    Category — 2010-11, 2011-12, 2013
    ============================

    QualComp (Corsi Rel version) — 8th toughest, 5th, 10th
    QualTeam (” ” ” ) — 10th best, 8th, 10th
    Zone starts — 6th toughest, 3rd, 6th

    GA On/60 — 3rd best, 9th, 1st

    Hits — 1st, 2nd, 3rd
    Blocked shots — 1st, 1st, 11th
    Takeaways — 3rd, 3rd, 9th

    SH TOI/G: 4th, 2nd, 6th

    Some of his numbers took a hit in 2013, due to some cocktail of lockout-shortened season, games missed to injury, games played while recovering from injury, reduced ice time, and, uhh, coaching strategies, but in his two full years under Renney I don’t see a lot in those numbers that says this guy wasn’t or shouldn’t be trusted defensively. Yes of course these rankings are comparing him to other Oilers — aka one of the worst teams in hockey — but where is the evidence that he deserves to be a whipping boy for all that is wrong with the team?

    Or do all those numbers lie and does seen-him-bad overrule the day?

  39. Lowetide says:

    Bruce: No, saw him good is part of the equation but dammit math counts too. Help me with this:

    The problem I have with Jones is this: he’s an offensive player but not the best option for offense, and the role he would fill on a 3rd checking line (Pisani role) is also not ideal for him.

    I absolutely believe that’s what the healthy scratches were about this past season. Jones is an offensive player on a team with #1 overalls out the wazoo, and he’s in the spot in the batting order where Daniel Winnick should be right now.

    It’s not his fault–he’s not an ideal 2-way player but that’s not a mortal sin–my thought process always landed on ‘bad management decisions.’

    Craig MacTavish isn’t a dummy. I’m not prepared to agree that he decided to do good works everywhere but on this one point he ‘let it slide’ that’s just not MacT.

    So, Bruce, what’s the answer to the riddle? I don’t know.

  40. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: Actually, I’d describe myself as a fan of math but would always prefer to see the player and add the math.

    And as usual, Lowetide talks sense. The numbers do not tell the whole story, or they tell a different story than what we think we are looking for. In Jones’ case he is a proactive defensive player, he’d rather be doing something like making a hero play and busting the cycle than just sitting back in his zone & containing. So he racks up the RTSS like crazy. Sometimes he gets burned and sometimes he gets lost but sometimes he actually makes a damn play and causes a turnover or prevents a shot attempt or what have you.

    So I agree with LT, you have to see the player, but try to see the whole player. With a high-event dude like Ryan Jones, if you focus on just the bad things you’ll see plenty to make you think he’s completely awful. But I’ll submit he does have his uses.

  41. Bruce McCurdy says:

    Lowetide: So, Bruce, what’s the answer to the riddle? I don’t know.

    Solid fourth liner with capacity to move up the line-up when the need arises. Plays both wings, useful penalty killer, and not a bad option to throw out there on nights when the team is forgetting to take the play to the front of the net. Brings enthusiasm and attitude, popular with teammates.

    Is that enough for $1.5 MM? I dunno, but it’s more than “the best he can hope for is to be a non-factor”.

  42. FastOil says:

    You nailed it LT. He plays like an offensive player but doesn’t score enough or pose enough of a threat to get away with it over time.

    He needs to redefine himself as a clearly reliable defensive player this season or he may be done in the NHL.

  43. prairieschooner says:

    I like the idea of double shifting Hall

  44. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide:
    Bruce: No, saw him good is part of the equation but dammit math counts too. Help me with this:

    The problem I have with Jones is this: he’s an offensive player but not the best option for offense, and the role he would fill on a 3rd checking line (Pisani role) is also not ideal for him.

    I absolutely believe that’s what the healthy scratches were about this past season. Jones is an offensive player on a team with #1 overalls out the wazoo, and he’s in the spot in the batting order where Daniel Winnick should be right now.

    And here I thought we were at loggerheads. Not sure how I misread your stance regarding Jones.

    http://lowetide.ca/blog/2013/07/last-chance-texaco-7.html/comment-page-1#comment-242363

  45. Lowetide says:

    Virgina: You linked to a Bruce comment? Is there something specific?

  46. theres oil in virginia says:

    Lowetide,

    Nope, that’s a me comment replying to Bruce:
    I’ve seen the defensive zone struggles, but I’ve seen them in Hall, Gagner, Eberle, Hemsky, J. Schultz,… Now clearly those guys have other qualities that Jones lacks, but still. I look at Jones like he’s the offensive-minded player who wasn’t quite up to high-end NHL standards on offensive ability alone, but he hasn’t really picked up the defensive acumen. Contrast that with Marchant and McAmmond, who I’d put in about the same boat offensively, but both transformed their games out of necessity. Maybe Jones will too.

  47. Lowetide says:

    Ah gotcha, thanks! :-)

  48. Rocknrolla says:

    Young Oil:
    With the Philly cap situation, do you think we could get Max Talbot for cheap? Maybe for a mid round pick and a middling prospect? He’d look great in our bottom 6.

    I would love Talbot as our 4C. Remember watching him on the first 24/7 on HBO. Great team guy and a no quit work ethic. Can also mix it up….sign em!

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