It wasn’t a good season for the Edmonton Oilers this year but one of their bright spots was the play from power forward Ryan Jones. With 18 goals he finished tied for third on the team in that department and with that kind of production from a third or fourth line player, you can earn yourself a commitment from the team.
Today, Jones earned just that from Oilers GM Steve Tambellini as the Oilers signed him to a two year contract. With young guns like Taylor Hall and Jordan Eberle holding things down in Edmonton while veterans like Shawn Horcoff and Ales Hemsky also contribute on the team’s top two lines, Jones’ production was welcome to give the Oilers a little bit of extra offense from their other lines. Sure, the Oilers were the NHL’s worst team, but they’ve got to take pride in what they had working for them and Jones’ play was an unexpected highlight.
At 6’1″ 205 Jones is a big body forward and now he’s getting chances to really break out unlike he was able to in either Minnesota where he was drafted or in Nashville after that. He’s getting the opportunity to do what he can in Edmonton and it’s helping him show off some of the skills he showed at Miami University in the NCAA.
There, Jones was a Hobey Baker finalist in 2008 after scoring 31 goals in 42 games for the Redhawks and menacing teams with his physical play and goal scoring touch. Perhaps the confidence shown by the Oilers is just what he needs to continue settling into a solid role as a depth forward in the NHL. The Oilers are certainly hoping so.
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It’s going to be interesting to see if Hammond can replicate the success he had last season, when he came out of nowhere to go 20-1-2 with a 1.79 GAA and .941 save percentage, and finish seventh in Vezina voting.