David Jones came to the Calgary Flames two seasons ago, in what was termed by many to be a “garbage for garbage” between Calgary and the Colorado Avalanche.
The Avalanche sent the rather sizable contracts of Jones and Shane O’Brien to Calgary, in exchange for Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich, two veterans who had given indications that they had little desire to be part of a protracted rebuild. All four men got fresh starts, but the deal initially seemed rather iffy for Calgary, as O’Brien was sent to the AHL (and then bought out) and Jones fought through injuries for most of last season.
Granted, his deal is still pretty heavy, but David Jones was actually pretty useful for the Flames this season.
Here’s everyone that played 100 (or more) even-strength minutes this season with Jones.
Okay, so everyone’s worse with Jones than without him. Except for Lance Bouma, who is slightly better, and Brodie, Backlund and Engelland are about the same. Generally-speaking, Jones has a downward drag on his teammates’ possession numbers.
But a LOT of that is because of how he’s used: tough, tough minutes.
The only regular Calgary Flames forward that faced the same level of opposition is Sean Monahan. And only Matt Stajan was as buried in terms of zone starts. So David Jones was underwater and facing top lines most games, so it’s a minor miracle that his possession numbers were merely “poor.” By all rights, he should’ve had the worst numbers on the club. But he didn’t.
Calgary doesn’t have a ton of right wings, so Jones was used a ton in tough minutes. Despite this, he put up 30 points (including 14 goals) while seeing a lot of good players. He added 5 points in 11 playoff games under similar circumstances. It helps that he was healthy for the majority of the season and played 67 regular season games rather than 48 as he did in 2013-14.
2014-15 will be the final year of David Jones’ present contract with its $4 million cap hit. The Flames are going to want to look at cheaper options. David Jones is a useful hockey player, but unless he’s willing to take a pay cut – and you never know, he might be – it’s unlikely that he’ll be around for a heck of a lot after next season. It’s kind of a shame, because when he’s healthy and using his big frame, he can be a good player. Unfortunately, guys like Josh Jooris, Drew Shore and Micheal Ferland are cheaper, younger, and have fewer miles on them – which makes it more likely that they can play a physical style of game over the long term.