Ryan Jones has been a model of consistency in his time with the Edmonton Oilers, playing with a greasy, on-the-puck style that the team is missing throughout its lineup.. He is one of the few players that has not disappointed in his time with the Oilers over the last two seasons. Jones tallied 17 goals last season and 18 the year before.
Ryan Jones added the penalty kill to his resume this past season, helping the Oilers improve that area by finishing 14th in NHL in that category. His ability to remain tenacious on the puck without being overaggressive has complemented the Edmonton Oilers younger players and their freewheeling style.
Looking ahead to this upcoming season, I’m hoping for more of the same for Jones. Another 15+ goal season, while trying to break even at even strength, all while playing his gritty style game. Ryan Jones is entering his contract season, meaning that he will likely go “all in” and give everything he has to set himself up for a nice raise.
If I Could Grant One Wish – Endurance: Ryan Jones saw a decrease in hit totals going from 152 hits from 2011 to 119 in 2012. A lot of factors could have played a part in this – increased ice time, new role, fatigue. He had a 20-game stretch in the middle of the season where he couldn’t buy a goal. He looked lethargic during that time and I believe it hurt his hit totals. Jones is going to have to be better prepared to handle the rigors of the middle portion of the season. It would also help if his teammates were able to help him out in the hit brigade. Becoming a half-step quicker also would help his cause.
Prediction for 2013 – Will Finish on the Plus Side of the (+/-) Ledger: After finishing -5 and -7 in the last two seasons, I believe Ryan Jones is ready to become even more reliable in his game. He is going to have to achieve this prediction while likely playing against the other team’s best players. It’s a tall order, especially considering how the Oilers have faired against tough competition in the past few seasons. Jones remains an unheralded player for the Oilers, but is a very important cog in the Oilers going forward. I look for Ralph Krueger to continue to place Jones against tough competition.