As waiver pickups go, Ryan Jones was a beauty. In his two full seasons with the Oilers, Jones has scored 18 and 17 goals while providing the team with a physical presence and miles and miles of energy shifts. Ryan Jones, as they say, has a terrific motor–it won’t stop running! Now: what’s that worth?

Jones was drafted by Minnesota in 2004, but was dealt to Nashville shortly after turning pro. He made the Preds in the fall of 2008 in something of a surprise (he scored 3 points in 5 pre-season games), as the club had a rash of injuries to wingers at the beginning of that season (Steve Sullivan, Jed Ortmeyer) and Alexander Radulov decided to bolt Nashville quicker than Willie Nelson and the Outlaws.

Jones spent parts of two seasons with the Predators, and hit the waiver wire about three years ago:

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Since then, Jones has played 170 games in an Oiler uniform, scored 36-23-59 and as mentioned above delivered all out effort and heads for the net whenever possible.

Last season, Jones enjoyed the finest year of his NHL career:

Ryan Jones 11-12
  • 5×5 points per 60: 1.46 (tied for 7th among regular forwards)
  • 5×4 points per 60: 5.40 (3rd among regular forwards)
  • Qual Comp: 7th toughest faced among regular forwards
  • Qual Team: tied for 8th best available teammates among regular forwards
  • Corsi Rel: -2.9 (9th best among regular forwards)
  • Zone Start: 44.6% (3rd toughest, 12th easiest among regular forwards)
  • Zone Finish: 48.6% (9th best among regular forwards)
  • Shots on goal/percentage: 137/12.4% (4th among F’s >100shots)
  • Boxcars: 79, 17-16-33
  • Plus Minus: -7 on a team that was -26

He performed well across the board: solid offense for his spot in the batting order, good Corsi, faced a tough zone start and scored 17 goals. That’s a guy who is going to get a raise.

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This season, Jones missed training camp and the first several weeks of the season with an eye injury (puck struck him during a pick-up game). He’s back, but has been in only 2 games so far this season.

Jones situation is somewhat different than the Ladislav Smid contract we discussed earlier this week. Jones has had an injury, is approaching 30 (June 2014) and the Oilers have all kinds of options at his position.

Under contract for 2013-14 among Oilers wingers, followed by RFA/UFA this summer in bold:

  1. Taylor Hall, signed through 2020 (UFA)
  2. Jordan Eberle, signed through 2019 (UFA)
  3. Nail Yakupov, signed through 2015 (RFA)
  4. Ales Hemsky, signed through 2014 (UFA)
  5. Ryan Smyth, signed through 2014 (UFA)
  6. Ben Eager, signed through 2014 (UFA)
  7. Teemu Hartiakinen, signed through 2013 (RFA)
  8. Magnus Paajarvi, signed through 2013 (RFA)
  9. Ryan Jones, signed through 2013 (UFA)
  10. Lennart Petrell, signed through 2013 (UFA)
  11. Darcy Hordichuk, signed through 2013 (UFA)

The bottom 5 wingers (in bold) represent players Edmonton will need to make a decision on this summer. The club will not have waiver options on Paajarvi or Hartikainen in 2013-14, so the roster options are far less with this lineup should it stay intact.

The issue then becomes: can the Oilers carry Hartikainen, Paajarvi and Jones as their 7-8-9 wingers? Added to 4 centermen, they would represent (with Petrelland the 4C) the end of the roster types: a couple would be regulars and the rest would be spotted in and out of the lineup–black aces, as they used to be called.

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Can the Oilers offer Ryan Jones a contract that reflects his two productive seasons without a regular top 9 role? Perhaps they unload Ben Eager, or even Ales Hemsky?


Ryan Jones is one of the best waiver pickups in Oilers history–he certainly has more value today than he did upon arrival. I’m not sure how the Oilers will plan their roster moving forward, and Ryan Jones may end up playing in another NHL city in the fall.

Whatever the decision, this is no slam dunk, he has not made the logical transition (moving him down the line and inserting ready draft picks like Hartikainen and Paajarvi) an easy one.

That alone shows Ryan Jones is a success in Edmonton, courtesy talent, effort and desire. It’ll be interesting to see how this works out.

    • Raider Jesse

      This is where cold-blooded capology comes in – “!” And “!” And “!”

      The talent managers – read: KL&T – need to be working hard RIGHT now on researching and understanding what the decrease in the cap is going to mean to the other teams around the league. There could be several players who are considerably better than RJ who could be had due to cap pressure. Conversely Signing RJ for a low number like 2mm could make him a tradable asset perhaps as part of a package for a team looki g to dump salary and still have serviceable and affordable bodies in return.

      Do KL&T look like the types to be applying belichek-Type time and effort to this critical exercise?

      I sure as heck see no evidence that that is the case…

  • Raider Jesse

    Strud’s tough choices post below appears prescient.

    I like Jones and agree he was one of the best waiver aquisitions for the Oilers. But he’s not core to this team and he lacks the draft pedigree and youthfulness of his peer wingers: Hartikainen and Pajaarvi especially.

    For this team to win soon, players like Jones will have to move in and out as they do on other perennial championship favorites.

    I’d like to see Jones stay, but not at the kind of dollars and term he’s likely to ask. His role could be filled by an experienced winger, say a Morrow, for the same or less money and almost definitely shorter term.

  • Muji

    Will be interesting. They could go either way..

    Who are his comparables? Curtis Glencross has better numbers, is about the same age (2 years older), and signed for 4 x $2.55M.

    What does Jones command?
    3 x $2.0M?
    4 x $1.8M?

    If the dollars are reasonable, I would definitely sign him.

  • TeddyTurnbuckle

    2 years at 1.5 a year for Jones. Pick up Volpattie on waivers from the canucks. He is the player we need. Send Magnus back to the minors, he was terrible last game and backed down from after whistle hits like a bitch! It was embarrassing! Do something Tambo!!!!!

  • OilLeak

    Pass, if we’re paying bottom feeders like Jones 2.5 million(I expect he’ll get that on the open market) then this team will never compete. Also, let’s not forget that Jones was riding Smyth and Horcoff’s tail last season and his possession metrics may not represent his actual talent level considering how awful he was the year before. The Oilers have Eberle, Hemsky, Yakupov as the top 3 right wingers, the Oilers can’t afford to pay Jones 2.5 million per and have him play on the 4th line. Ideally Jones would have been traded in the off-season for a defenseman, now the Oilers will most likely settle for a draft pick.

    • Reg Dunlop

      Have to agree with you here. I don’t see Jones providing any physical presence which we could use SOMEWHERE in our line-up, he won’t be a top 6 wing here(if he is, we are not progressing at all) and we need 4th liners cheaper and younger and meaner than Jones.

    • Bonvie

      Wow who brought 2.5 million a year up? Where did that number come from? Ryan Jones would be a good signing though just not for that type of money of course.

      When it come to UFA’s it is always the top 5-10 guys that get paid all the money. The winners are the GM’s that avoid these players as it seams the Parise, and Suter type contracts can really cripple an organizations long term. Once you get a ways down the depth chart though utility type players are usually signed for reasonable contracts.

      I would suspect Jones to be more in the 1.5 area.

      • Where’s the evidence they don’t overpay?

        Dubnyk, Horcoff, Sutton, Barker, Hordichuk, Eberle and Hall……Trust me the Oilers will overpay.

        2.5 is NOT out of the realm of possibility with this organization…….Sad but true.

  • Reg Dunlop

    One more thing. Dallas plans to start the owner of the oilers in goal tonight(Lehtonen). No way the oil scrape out any points, unfortunately. They will, however, be pushed, shoved and intimidated at every turn, as usual, proving once again that mgmt is clueless and that the present mix of talent yields a team that is lotto bound.

    I hope I’m wrong but guaranteed the oil were the only team wearing pink shirts on Wednesday to show support for zero tolerance for bullying. Everywhere else in the NHL… not so much.

  • Death Metal Nightmare

    this dude needs to stay around as a 3rd line (2nd stop-gap) if this team wants to go anywhere. perfect role player. has some size, plays greasy/attacks, can finish, has smarts and makes good plays.

    not sure what Stauffer’s “meh” attitude is with him compared to the rest of the vets on this garbage team.

    for the price and role, he’s pretty effective via eyeball even before seeing the number-crunching.

    Petrell (not really into his speed/skating. very up right, kind of slow. plays hard but, eh… thats the best they can find?) and Hordichuk (junk, but a rad personality) are gone on that list + whatever trades happen when management feels pressured to do so.

  • Raider Jesse

    They made a choice on Ryan Jones when they signed Ryan Smyth for two years. They figured Smyth could stop gap till Paajarvi and Harski were ready. Problem is Jones ia better than all three now and very well may be forever.

    More and more the Smyth contract sets us back.

  • Bonvie

    they should sign this player if the dollars are reasonable.
    right now the oil are not a very competitive team and one of the problems they are about to have is keeping everyone on the roster they want to get a look at. i dont think this team would be any lower in the standings(what difference does it make anyway, this is a lottery team) so why is that russian shot taking a roster spot? he could have easily stayed in the khl and next year he could have learned how to play hockey in the ahl. seems like a much better way to burn up a year of his entry level contract. could have cycled paajarvi, hartikainen, jones, eager through the top six and figure out what we have in these players instead of rushing a player that obviously isnt ready to play on to your fourth line. player management and prospect development is not this teams strong suit. unfortunately those are fairly key components to becoming a successful franchise.

  • Where's Your Towel

    1. Pick up an asset for nothing.
    2. Nurture it and watch it grow into something of value.
    3a. Overpay it because you like it or;
    3b. Let it go for nothing.

    Sounds like the asset management we’re accustomed to.

  • Mumbai Max

    Well. This seems to be 2 part process. First sign him to a team friendly contract at max 1.8 for 2 or 3 years. Then if anyone is willing to overpay for him at the deadline, which is very possible, then let him go. They bought low, always a good plan to sell high. Barring an overpayment happy to have him on the roster. Next question is what constitutes an overpayment!? Is a second round pick an overpayment for a goal scoring, flexible, hard working, blue collar third liner?

  • vetinari

    Guys like Jones and Smid need to get locked under contract extensions now because they sure as heck will be in high demand come July 1st if Tambi lets this drift too long… and sadly, if they are not under contract soon, they would have some value at the deadline.

  • HardBoiledOil 1.0

    mmmmm….Meg Ryan!! sooo sexy!!!….er, anyways, they need to re-sign Jones. perfect 3rd liner, tones of speed and hustle and seemed to produce in a fill in role on the top two lines when asked. sign Jones and Smid please!

  • Milli

    I would like to see him stay an Oiler, I think he brings alot! But, of course he needs to sign a reasonable contract. We need guys like him that can score a little, hit and have a ton of energy. I just don’t see Harski or Magnum there yet. Tough call.

  • Milli

    I say sign him to another 2 year deal. He is both the type of player that can be dealt at a trade deadline, and the exact player every fan and pundit seems to be saying we need. Energy player who doesn’t take nights off, physical, can PK, and contribute offensively. What more could you ask for you in your bottom six. I also like that he can slide up and down the line up as needed. His production was well above his pay grade. Plus he likes playing in Edmonton and seems to have a great all around attitude.

  • Milli

    Right now the Oilers are suited to play a Detriot like model. Detriot plays a physical game but not a fighting scrapping game. I would like to see the Oilers follow that model more so than a Bruins or LA, because they are so far away from being a big intimadating team.

    Now in saying that Detriot has there team model to science. The only time I remember them stepping out of the model was to sign Hossa. They have kept the same type of team for years and they keep finding useful players to fill a certain role. Why do you think they signed Tootoo? He fits the mold of a Maltby or Mcarthy. Once Tootoo is gone they will find the next player to fill that mold. Raflaski suddenly retires and they go out and get a Vet dman in White. White would be garbage on anyother team but he fits the exact mold of Rafalski. Do you think the Oilers would play Dan Cleary on the first line or even Brunner? No they wouldnt because they dont have the hype. Detriot identifies players that would be great in a certain role and alot of that work comes from their pro scouts.

    Jones fits a player type that would be hugely successful in Detriot. Why? Because he can fill a hole in the top 6 if need be but still be a better than average bottom 6 player. The Oilers need to keep Jones because once Smyth is gone who is going to be there to fill that hole? Harski is another perfect “type” player to fit a mold. He doesnt have the expeirence or games as Big Bert but he would be the exact mold. A player that is big and strong, goes to the net but has enough skill to play with your skilled players.

    I think Jones right now is better than MPS because he has finish. MPS needs to figure out how to pick up crap goals and start using that frame of his. He is incredible on the forecheck but he doesnt use his body enough to dislodge the puck from the defender. Im not talking about running the guy through the end boards but more grit needs to be involved.

    The Oilers need alot of tinkering to make this team a playoff success but I think they should start with the “proper” little peices. They need to start learning how to lean on the opposing teams Dman and star players and wearing them down. But not deploy a crap 4th line that wouldnt be good enough to play against the other team 4th line. A start would be a player like Volpatti. He would be an upgrade over Petrell IMO!!!!!

    My god that was long.

  • 15w40

    Ever since they let Glencross go for a couple of 100 thousand differance, they been looking for the same guy ever since. Idiots
    I hope they don’t make the same mistake twice. A bird in the hand as they say,

  • Spydyr

    Jones is a tough call for me.He plays hard has some edge picks up points. He is outside the core group age but teams need vets.
    I say offer him a contract for a couple years with a small raise before the deadline. If he says no trade him.

  • Resign if not too expensive. He’s exactly the type of player they need. In fact they could use a slightly more skilled and grittier one in their top 6. He’s a proven bottom 6 winger who can play spot duty. Why get rid of him for something that isn’t a sure thing, which he is about as close to as there is for his role?