The Edmonton Oilers signed forward Ryan Jones to a one-year deal that will see the 29-year old return to the club where he’s spent the last three and a half seasons since being acquired from the Nashville Predators. For the Oilers, bringing back Jones was a wise decision.
Here lies a player that has the heart and character that this hockey club needs more of. Is he the most skilled player on the ice every night? Not even close. But is he willing to outwork and out-muscle every other player for sixty minutes, maybe more? You can bet your next paycheck on it.
Now you can throw in the sheer motivation of proving the doubters wrong and Jones will surely be ready to have a bounce back year.
Last season was a tough for Jones that started with an eye injury that limited the grinding forward to just over half of the 48-game regular season (27 games). He was also a healthy scratch for five games and by season’s end it was clear he wasn’t the type of player Ralph Krueger was fond of.
To make matters worse his offensive production plummeted to the point of just 2 goals and 5 assists. The two previous seasons he had scored a combined 35 times and was proving to be a valuable third line player who could responsibly handle more playing time.
Krueger also cut Jones’ ice-time back last season to just under thirteen minutes, down almost two and a half minutes from the season before, contributing to the career low season in points.
Furthermore, during an interview with 630 CHED, courtesy of Dan Tencer via Twitter, Jones openly admitted that he would not have been brought back to Edmonton this summer had there not been a change in management. He was told that by Krueger that “previous management didn’t have time for him.”
That was then and this is now and that former management isn’t around anymore. Meaning it’s a fresh start for Jones to come and rekindle his game for newly appointed head coach Dallas Eakins who will surely love the passion and fire that Jones brings to the team.
Motivation to prove doubters wrong can be a powerful weapon and not to mention that Jones will once again be playing for a contract, having been given just the one-year deal from the Oilers for next season. All of this bundled together for a player who has plenty to prove should result in some entertaining hockey games with Ryan Jones and the Oilers. Which makes this free-agent signing a wise for Craig MacTavish and the Oilers.
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