Jason Gregor has "his guys" - read his work on Ryan Whitney, for example. Tonight, Gregor took to Twitter to defend the notion of keeping Ryan Jones, rather than dumping him at the trade deadline for anything of value:
For those suggesting the #Oilers move Jones, curious which UFA you think would be a good/equal replacement capgeek.com/free-agents?ye…— Jason Gregor (@JasonGregor) March 25, 2013
I scanned the link for 30 seconds and came up with the following list:
Patrick Thoresen, Jochen Hecht, Mike Santorelli, Peter Regin, Viktor Stalberg, Brad Richardson, Chad Larose, Raffi Torres, Chris Higgins, Boyd Gordon
I could spend more time and come up with another half-dozen players, but I think 10 players better than Jones (far better, by the way) in UFA this season for similar costs is enough to prove the point. Jones is a liability and part of the problem in Edmonton - not part of the future. Lowetide once wrote about guys that look like they're putting in effort and it's always stuck with me:
The little men of the world always look like they're putting out maximum effort (Tie Domi looked like he was passing a kidney stone in full stride), while men like Dustin Penner (with long strides that often look plodding) are easy targets based on visual evidence.
That's Jones - he looks like he's putting in maximum effort because he falls a lot. He scored a bunch of goals making a living as a cherry-picker and a floater. He gained a reputation as a good penalty killer because he fell a lot, even though he spews chances against. Even though he's a black hole of possession and surrenders far more than he creates, he looks like he tries hard, so folks like Gregor want to keep Jones. But Jones is part of the problem. The Oilers are terrible at even strength and it's not the top of the roster - it's the bottom of the roster up front and on the blueline.
Upgrading at forward, especially for a guy who gets stomped at even strength, will improve the team. If the Oilers can do it and get some depth at centre (Thoresen, Santorelli, Regin, Gordon), they solve two problems with one acquisition.
Hanging on to Jones because he's likeable and falls a lot is a mistake.