Ryan Jones has endeared himself to Edmonton fans. His female fans giggle and coo about his hair on Twitter. His male fans think he's full of grit and sandpaper. The media thinks he's a breakaway specialist. His tubthumping style makes it seem like he's always in the middle of the action and either throwing a hit or being hit. Even Ben likes him:
They call him "Tubthumper". I actually don't know why, but it does feel appropriate. I can't count how many times in the last two months I've heard Sportsnet call him a "breakaway specialist", and "Tubthumper" is at least better than that.
Whatever tub thumping is, I bet Jones did a metric shit-tonne of it in this game. His usual ability to fall around the ice was on display (has any decent NHL player, which Jones undeniably is, ever been a less reliable skater?) but most of his positive traits were not. Ryan Jones, at his best, is a take-no-prisoners son-of-a-gun. Like quite a poor man's Mike Grier, he charges around the ice and causes havoc. He's got enough skill and intelligence to come out ahead against evenly-matched opposition, but even when he's playing badly he's contributing as a destabilizing influence on the other team. He's a chaos forward, and I have a soft spot for chaos forwards.
But whether he brings the chaos or not, there remains a fundamental problem with Jones' game -- when he's on the ice, the puck isn't moving in the right direction. Fans want to keep him and I've read comments in various places in which fans want to sign him to a long-term deal or "close to Brule money". Here's hoping the front office is smarter than this.
Key: CF = even strength scoring chances for while on the ice, CA = even strength scoring chances against while on the ice, % = percentage of even strength scoring chances for while on the ice.
|With Jones||Without Jones||Jones Without|
- "Colin Fraser is bringing Jones down." With Fraser, their chances percentage is .277, not even replacement level. Apart from Fraser, Jones jumps up to .379, still sub-replacement level, however Fraser apart from Jones jumps up to .480!
- "J.F. Jacques is bringing Jones down." With Jacques, their chances percentage is .314, again not even replacement level. Apart from Jacques, Jones jumps up to .359, still sub-replacement level, however Jacques apart from Jones jumps up to .530! Soak in the previous sentence for a bit.
- "Zack Stortini was bringing Jones down." With Stortini, their chances percentage is .303, again not even replacement level. Apart from Stortini, Jones jumps up .360 still sub-replacement level, however Stortini apart from Jones jumps up to .493!
- Every defenseman on the team has a better chances percentage without Jones.
- Magnus Paajarvi and Liam Reddox had a better percentage with Jones than without - the rest of the forward corps was worse.
It's significant to mention the values in the "Jones Without" column. The max value in the column is .379, while the min value is .317. Those are the teammate independent values and surround his season chances percentage of .354. It's also worth mentioning the total forward chances percentage with Jones is.373 and the total forward chances percentage without Jones is .484. The total defenseman chances percentage with jones is .353 and the total defenseman chances percentage without Jones is .483.
Has anyone given thought to the reasoning behind Jones' ability to consistently get himself breakaways?