The following is from a great piece over on the Chatham-Kent Sports Network about former RedHawk Ryan Jones and his current status in the NHL. As of July 1, 2011 the ex-Miami captain will become an Unrestricted Free Agent-free to sign with any team that bids for his services and there is said to be no guarantee that the third year pro (I know, third year…really?) will return to the Edmonton Oilers.
Here’s Jonesy on where he and the Oil stand:
“We are still in talks right now,” said Jones. ”We aren’t in a huge rush right now as both my agent and the Oilers management have lots of stuff on their plates right now. The things I am taking into consideration right now would be my fit in the organization and the fact that both my wife and I enjoy being in Edmonton and playing there. That being said like any player I want some stability so that is where we are at right now.” (CKSN)
The problem with Jones is that many in the NHL feel he is a “3rd line plus” player- a guy that provides energy, competes every shift and chips in a few goals if he gets some bounces. While those of us who followed his college career need no introduction to his goal scoring ability, guys that carry a “bottom six” reputation as Jones does aren’t usually in high demand on the free agent market. Many teams, however, believe they can fill these role player spots with players from within the organization (i.e. the minors). The best case scenario is that the Oilers (and teams wishing to sign him) will view his career-high 18 goals (tied for tops on the Oilers) as yet untapped potential and utilize his skill-set on the second or third line, not on a checking line as most of his career has been spent.
By the way, Jones was also honored as Edmonton’s representative for the NHL’s Bill Masterton trophy, an annual award given to the player on each team that is said to most exhibit a dedication to hockey.