Ryan Jones Has A New Contract And Three Million Reasons To Be Happy

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Ryan Jones has been inked for two more years of service in Oiler colours.

Details and a wrap after the jump.

Three million reasons to PARTY DOWN. Photo courtesy oilers.nhl.com

It’s a good day if you’re Ryan Jones.  Depending on who you ask, it’s a pretty good day for the Oilers organisation too.

A pretty happy Ryan Jones was on Team1260 this morning talking about his new contract and bear hunting (among other things).    Jones will pull $3M over the next two years in Edmonton at a cap hit of $1.5M per year.

Let the daggers fly.

There are two sides of the Jones camp.

  • those who think 1.5M a year for a guy who scored 18 goals is a pretty damn good deal, and
  • those who think that kind of money is crazy talk, because the lines that Jones is on usually get out-chanced when they’re on the ice.

Quality scorer?  Liability for the defence?

A quick look at the surface stats would say that this is a pretty fair deal for both sides.  Jones finished 2010-11 playing in 81 games, scoring 18G-7A-25 PTS, and 34 PIM to go with a -5 plus/minus.  Jones’ stock goes up a bit when you find out that he finished tied for second place with Jordan Eberle in total goals scored this past season, and Jones had more even strength goals than any other Oiler (15).

It’s easy to give Jones’ contract the go-ahead when you glance around the room and see a potential number one defender toiling in the minors with a fat contract, or a goaltender who may be a day or more past his prime pulling in 3.75M for the past two seasons (and unless someone buys him out, the next two).  If Jones can reach 20 goals (and maybe 35 total points?) in 2011-12, then $1.5M would look like a steal, right?

I’d say yes.

But then, here comes those damn statistics. Some of them actually make sense, too.,

For a third line winger, Ryan Jones’ shooting percentage is off the charts.   Seriously, how many third line wingers do you know that are hitting the net at over 14%  these days?  Jones hasn’t ever had a season below 11%.  Either he’s seriously talented and hiding some sweet cheese up his sleeves, or he’s incredibly lucky.  And, he did pick Vancouver to win the Cup this morning on the radio.  And scoring chances?  Well…there’s something to that.  Simple stats will show you it’s not your brain working against you – the Oilers are simply outchanced when Jones is on the ice.

SO MAKE UP YOUR MIND, IS THIS A GOOD SIGNING?

Yes.  I believe the positives outweigh the negatives by a fair amount.

Jones is going to make $1.5M a season for the next two.  That’s a good number again, for a guy who scored eighteen goals last year.  He’s only 26 – mature enough to be a team leader, and young enough to where he’s on the good side of 30.  I believe there is a chance that Jones’ numbers could improve this season, and I’m not just talking about goals and assists.  As David Staples pointed out in his article about Jones’ signing, Jones has established himself as the guy who will crash the net.  As expected, he’s likely going to be the last guy back.

Over at the Copper and Blue, Derek Zona and Lisa McRitchie (who have differing opinions of the worth of Ryan Jones) both agree that Jones is a popular guy on the team, and his blue collar play resonates with fans.  Jones is likely to see third-line minutes again this year, and if he’s able to work a little on his defence, then $1.5M a year might turn out to be a steal for Jones’ supporters, and a better than expected investment for his detractors.

Have your say: What do you think? Good deal or overpay?

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