RFA Profile: Josh Jooris

For a second straight summer, the Calgary Flames have a relatively easy decision on their hands when it comes to Josh Jooris. Since debuting with the Flames in October of 2014, Jooris has given the team solid value in his two NHL seasons to date. I don’t think there should be much debate as to Jooris’s immediate future with Calgary, but perhaps you disagree.

Jooris marks the fourth of our series of RFA profiles. Here’s what we’ve covered thus far:

I think the debate on Jooris is an easy one, but a worthy one to have all the same.

Pros

First and foremost, Jooris is a solid, effective bottom six forward. He understands the two-way game well, he is consistent, and he very rarely hurts you. There are some depth forwards who jump over the boards, skate around, maybe touch the puck a few times, and hope to not get scored on. Jooris isn’t one of these players, as he’s been a very useful player in his two years with the Flames. His possession totals speak to that very nicely.

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On a negative possession team like the Flames, Jooris’s totals here are very respectable and show his rookie season wasn’t a fluke. Jooris was Calgary’s top possession forward during the 2014-15 season but also had his minutes sheltered; his offensive start ratio that year was fourth highest on the team. This past season was a different story, though.

Jooris went from the fourth most offensive starts among forwards in his first year to the fourth least in his sophomore season. As such, seeing his raw possession rate take a small step forward is very much impressive. If the Flames are true to their word and hire a coach who prioritizes having the puck, Jooris could benefit in a big way.

Over the last two years, Jooris has given Calgary some really effective minutes for under a million dollars on the salary cap. The next piece of good news is that’s likely to continue on his next deal. Jooris carried a cap hit of $975,000 last year and I would imagine his next deal with the team would be in and around that neighbourhood. 

Jooris didn’t have staggering offensive totals this year (more on that later), so a significant rise from last season’s hit is unlikely. We all know where this team’s salary cap is going, so having an effective player like Jooris signed for such a reasonable number is extremely valuable. Earlier this season, I pegged Jooris as one of Calgary’s best value contracts. That won’t be changing in year three with the team.

Finally, let’s not forget the price the Flames paid to acquire Jooris: nothing. Jooris signed as a free agent out of Union College after attending the team’s development camp in the summer of 2013. Jooris isn’t quite in the Mark Giordano stratosphere of undrafted free agents, but I’d take getting a solid NHLer like him for free any day of the week. 

Cons

Jooris is never going to give you a ton of offensive production. After seeing him post 12 goals and 24 points in his rookie season, Jooris’s offensive totals dropped in year two. There’s a good reason for that, though, as you’ll see below.

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You’ll notice a significant drop in Jooris’s shooting percentage which lends itself most to his offensive drop-off. To put it into perspective a little bit, 13.5% is a sky high shooting rate while 5.0% is a few percentage points under the league average. If things normalize a little for this coming season, seeing him in the 6-10 goal range and 15-20 point range is a reasonable expectation.

It really is a stretch to come up with a ton of “cons” to re-upping Jooris, but I’ve got a two more minor ones as I attempt to provide some balance. First, he’s turning 26 in July and is likely approaching his NHL ceiling. Jooris is a solid, effective depth forward but probably isn’t going to ascend much higher than that.

Finally, he’s had to battle some injury woes during his first two seasons in Calgary. None of the injuries Jooris has had to deal with have been major, but they’ve limited his effectiveness at times. At 6’1 and 185 pounds, Jooris is on the smaller side for depth forwards, so playing through nagging ailments might be par for the course going forward.

Verdict

This is the easiest one yet for me: qualify the guy and sign him to another deal. Unlike every other pending RFA we’ve profiled, I’d advocate for more than just a one year deal, too. For me, Jooris has proven to be an effective NHLer and having him under contract for a couple years at a really reasonable price is an attractive thought. The Flames are going to need affordable players like Jooris going forward, so not keeping him in the fold seems silly to me. The pros far, far outweigh the cons here and I would be stunned if the team doesn’t sign him to another deal this summer.

  • The Fall

    I believe the usage stats will change significantly for the RFAs under a new coaching scheme. With such a small sample size (2 seasons) it is hard to say where Jooris’ career will settle. That said, he’s likely worked his way into a full time NHL role.

  • wot96

    He’s a righty and the kid can wheels too.

    If they can re-sign him for three years at that sub-million salary, that would be great. If his play suffers and he goes down, there is very little wasted cap space. If he plays well in a supporting role, that’s outstanding too.

  • Matty Franchise Jr

    Giving him a raise of roughly the same amount that the cap increases next year is probably fair (assuming the PA opts to force an increase of 5%).

    $3.1M over 3 years.

  • piscera.infada

    I like Jooris as a player, he’s a good, relatively young depth player that can move up the lineup in a pinch and can play all the forward positions.

    These are guys you cultivate at a very cost-controlled rate. They’re important. Let’s not make another Paul Byron-esque mistake here.

    I’m also not convinced that if given the same preferential treatment as Colborne this past season (and the corresponding “Backlund bump”), he wouldn’t have produced at least similarly.

    • The Fall

      It is waste to put him with Backs on the regular. JoJo a 60 game, affordable, fourth-liner with relatively low upside; he has zero finish.

      Goalborne gets preferential treatment because he’s younger with a higher ceiling (albeit, not that high…)

      • Baalzamon

        Goalborne gets preferential treatment because he’s younger with a higher ceiling (albeit, not that high…)

        Colborne: January 30, 1990

        Jooris: July 14, 1990

        …?

  • Petzl

    The guy has been solid, put up with Hartley’s awesome deployments without much fuss. I’d like to see him under a different coach, feel like he could be a solid 3rd/4th liner and Pk guy for the rest of his career. Hopefully with Calgary.

  • everton fc

    Jooris can play all forward positions, is an ideal 4th liner the way Moss and Nystrom were here, “back in the day” – a player who, if you haev some injury riddles to solve, can slot up the depth-chart in the interim, without hurting you too much. Why? He plays a good two-way game and has “wheels”.

    Sign him. The 3yr/3.1mil deal is one, like Bouma’s, that can be moved in a package deal, need be. While I don;t necessarily agree he could have put up #’s like Colborne, if given the same opportunities, I do believe he can match his totals from 2014-15, with the right linemates (Ferland being one, perhaps?)

    (Unrelated, but we really need to consider a return to the old jersey Jooris is sporting in this photo. Far better then the current jerseys. Love it!)

  • Flames Fan in Edmonchuck

    I would also say that the guy is a strong penalty killer. Agreed on the no brainer, anything under 1.2 per year, for 2 or 3 years is a okay.

  • flamesburn89

    I think Jooris could fit into a role similar to one Jarret Stoll played on the Kings a few years back, albeit on the wing mostly.

    He’s a guy who can play against other third/4th liners, makes due with defensive zone starts, does okay from a possession standpoint, kills penalties, throws some hits, takes some face-offs, and has a little bit of offence. The fact that he’s a right hand that can play both on the wing and at centre gives him a lot of versatility.

    3 year deal at around $1.1M per season seems fair.

  • OKG

    He’s the same class of player as guys like Sheary and Rust… who are currently “top 6 forwards” for the team leading the Stanley Cup Final.

    You don’t undervalue guys like Jooris and Byron. Jooris in particular as he’s hit the 10 goal mark in the past and is a right handed shot. Give him some term at a tiny cap hit, and use him as needed.

    • Greatsave

      Both Rust and Sheary have shown more offensive abilities in their AHL stints, so I wouldn’t say Jooris is in the same class. And the only reason Rust and Sheary would be considered “top-6” is if you insist on the HBK line being the third line. The Penguins have spread out their offence, so I’d be more inclined to say Rust and Sheary are filling in top-9 roles right now.

  • The Last Big Bear

    Sign him for sure, but let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.

    He is almost the definition of the kind of depth player who jumps over the boards, skates around, touches the puck a few times, and tries not to get scored on.

    There’s nothing wrong with that, and he’s good at it, and he does it for cheap.

    But he’s a cost-effective filler player, no more and no less.