The Oilers have made another roster transaction today, sending rookie defender Caleb Jones to the Bakersfield Condors of the AHL.
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 21, 2019
With this move, the Oilers have just 12 forwards and six defenders on their roster. One would assume that this means either Alex Petrovic or Oscar Klefbom is ready to be activated from the Injured Reserve. Still, given Ty Rattie and Ryan Spooner going on waivers earlier today, there’s some reason to assume a bigger transaction could be on the way.
Jones was impressive during his first stint in the NHL. Though he was predictably overwhelmed while playing top-pairing minutes with Adam Larsson in recent games, Jones didn’t look out of place at the NHL level. He played 17 games, recording six points, and averaging a shade under 20 minutes of ice time per night. He also had very solid underlying numbers.
I do believe Jones is good enough to remain in Edmonton’s top-six even with a healthy Klefbom and Petrovic. That said, with Edmonton going on their break after Tuesday’s game against the Red Wings, Jones will be able to play four games with the Condors before the Oilers are back in action. That ultimately is what’s best for Jones’ development. With that in mind, the Oilers should also send Kailer Yamamoto and Jesse Puljujarvi to Bakersfield during the break.
It would be best to wait until Klefbom is back to bring Jones up again. That would allow him to play sheltered minutes on the third pair rather than being thrown right into the deep end in the top-four.