Each year, the Edmonton Oilers return a current free agent that makes me wonder about their vision of the team. I call it ‘the Petrell’ and this year’s signing was Ryan Jones. Jones is a better player than Petrell, but is he a fit? The Oilers needed a ‘Pisani’ and brought back Jones. Is that a good idea?
RE 13-14: 73, 9-10-19
- Man when you don’t like a guy it’s a real burial. What?
- Crappy song, crappy RE and your intro was brutal. Ass. The song (which will be discussed later in this post) is one of my all-time favorites–with this being the best version (even John Lennon said that was true). The RE assumes he’s going to score at previous 5×5 rates (about 1.38/60) and that his TOI per game will be rationed a little (my feeling is the 1-2 lines are going to get a push).
- Does he get PP time? No.
- Convenient. Jones played 19 seconds a year ago, let’s give him the same amount this season. I have him playing a lot more on the PK (1:23 a year ago, 2:28 in 11-12) but honestly all of these wingers are going to be playing fewer EV and PP minutes. For LW’s most of the PP time went to Hall and Perron, with a little for Smyth. I have Smyth and Jones playing big PK minutes and I do believe that’s very reasonable.
- What about even strength? Well one year ago, Hall played 15.5 EV minutes, Paajarvi/Yakupov about 12, Smyth 11.5 and Jones 11. I have Hall’s minutes slightly increased, Perron taking more time for the 2line and Smyth/Jones/the rest playing fewer minutes per game at 5×5.
- How much more offense does Smyth create than Jones in your model? They’re pretty much identical in points, I have Smyth playing a little more than Jones so Jones would be the more efficient 5×5 player.
- Why don’t you like Ryan Jones? We’ve been down this road before. I don’t dislike Jones, it’s just that player type we’re talking about (skill winger) doesn’t fit with team need (2-way winger). Hey, you know what? Here’s a great way to explain it. When I was young, Jones’ type players were among my favorites–one of them was a guy named Stan Gilbertson. He came up through the Bruins farm system and didn’t catch on until late 20′s when the Seals gave him a shot. Stan took advantage and established himself as a pretty decent scoring winger on some of the league’s poorer teams. I cheered like hell for Stan, from Oakland to St. Louis to Landover to Pittsburgh, always had his hockey card, every year they made one.
- Nice. And did he enjoy a long career? No, lost his leg in a car accident.
- Dammit you almost had me! Nice, fuzzy warm story about a childhood Ryan Jones and bam! the poor bastard lost his leg. Are you making this up? No, no. It really happened, it was really sad. I would never joke about something like that, hadn’t thought of it in a long time. That Seals team was star crossed, remind me to tell you about Gerry Odrowski or Joey Johnston one day.
- Why can’t Jones play the Pisani role? First, when they claimed Jones I thought it was a good move and wondered if he might be able to play the Moreau role. Jones himself told us why the Oilers grabbed him off the waiver wire (“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 none of it involved being a smart 2-way guy. In the FIRST RE the Q and A went: 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. And you know what? That REMAINS the story for Jones, it just does. I’ll give him credit for being a solid penalty killer and he did (you can see it in the 2011-12 Vollman below) take on the tough minutes along with Horcoff, Smyth and Hemsky two years ago. However, I don’t think that’s his strength, and would feel more secure about the Oilers third line with more of a 2-way option.
- David Staples says “he can play strong defensive hockey if tasked with that” and says it here. David doesn’t say anything about the 3rd line shutdown role. In fact, he says “in the right role, that of a crasher and checker, Jones, 29, can be a useful bottom-line NHL player. He’s a decent penalty killer as well. He’s more than 200 pounds, a hustler, a fast skater, a decent along the boards.” I do think Jones will take on tough zone starts and a checking role at times this season. I’m not certain he’ll have that 3line role for most of the year–I have Smyth ahead of him and there are other names on the way–but I’m not convinced it’ll happen. I don’t think we can bury Jones based on this season, he was coming off an eye injury and that likely impacted his production. If he’s fully recovered from his eye injury (and the after effects, I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to suffer that injury and THEN return to a game that goes as fast as NHL hockey uncertain of visual range) I expect he’ll get his chances.
- Okay, what about his chemistry with Smyth? It’s weird isn’t it? Woodguy pointed it out awhile back and they seem to be able to impact the zone time together. I don’t know what to make of it, but that’s a story line worth following this coming season.
- What about the song? It’s maybe my favorite Beatles song (it’s either this, Here Comes the Sun, Money or There’s a Place). I’ve always thought of this song as a chant, something you repeat during times of danger or depression–”nothing’s going to change my world”–this actually would be a good song to play during 3 and 4line shifts. Also, the opening line “Words are flowing out like Endless rain into a paper cup They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe” has always struck me as a clever way of talking about the endless useless stuff we talk about before getting down to business. At the end of our lives, no one ever laments not having enough time to talk about the weather. And maybe it’s a little about paying attention and learing your lessons.
- Deep. VERY deep. Oh go to hell.
- So you’re saying he’ll be better because of what he might have lost? I’m saying that Ryan Jones has an enormous opportunity, perhaps he’s thought about life after hockey and now he’s been given a second chance. Remember when Marty Reasoner was placed on waivers and then came back with a second chance? He was a different hockey player. I think it’s possible.
JONES 2011-12 SLEDGEHAMMER
Well there it is in black and white, Jones in the tough quadrant and playing things at damn near zero. The Smyth-Jones is a powerful thing, and let’s give credit where due–notice the extreme zone starts as well on the Sledgehammer.
JONES 12-13 SLEDGEHAMMER
He was not effective this season, and he was injured so that’s a reason. If he were born in Chatham we’d be singing his praises over the effort, so let’s try to be kind when discussing the Vollman on him.
LOWDOWN WITH LOWETIDE
Tough to get over the Monday hurdle, I think our guests this morning at 10 (Team 1260) will help get things rolling in a good direction. Scheduled to appear:
- Tyler Dellow from mc79hockey to discuss the Smyth/Jones 3line item, Grabovski as an Oiler and are the Oilers done?
- Pepper from Pepper and Dylan on Virgin 1049. Pepper is an NFL fan and knows his stuff, I still think the Raiders are in Oakland. It’ll be fun.
- Corey Pronman from Hockey Prospectus. Corey has his new Oilers top 10 up and you can check it out here.
- Dave Gordon from Oil on Whyte. We’ll chat about Kyle Clifford, Ales Hemsky, Grabovski, Gagner, and other things too.
@Lowetide_ on twitter and 10-1260 via text. Your questions and comments welcome.