Background and History
Drafted 117th overall in 2015, Caleb Jones spent last season in the AHL with the Bakersfield Condors. Prior to that he played two seasons in the WHL with the Portland Winterhawks and was part of the United States National U-17 and U-18 teams.
Jones played 58 games in the AHL last season and managed to accumulate 2 goals and 15 assists. While his numbers don’t seem all that appealing, and his +/- is -25, Jones is still one of the Oilers top defensive prospects.
A left shooting defenseman who was able to produce in the WHL, Jones has versatility and drive. He may be better known for being the younger brother of Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones, but Caleb Jones has proven to Oilers fans that he’s willing to put in the work required to crack the line up at some point in the future.
He has a quick and accurate shot from the point, plays a smart game and is aggressive on the blue line. At 6’1” and 205lbs, Jones is well suited to playing a physical style and isn’t afraid to battle for pucks along the boards. Jones will require more time in the AHL to develop is skillset, but that’s okay because the Oilers aren’t hurting for left shooting defensemen.
Wow, we here at Copper and Blue can’t seem to agree on anyone this summer. Jones has a low ranking of 17 and a high ranking of 11. This low point production in Bakersfield and the development he still needs might have lowered his ranking for some. While his potential to play so
me time in the NHL and his developmental steps forward this last year might have correlated with a higher ranking for others.
Why He Made the List
Well, Jones is one of the Oilers more stable defensive prospects. He stayed in the AHL last season, instead of bouncing between the AHL and ECHL as some prospects do in their first full pro season. While that doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s better than a lot of the defensive prospects in the Oilers system.
Jones is also a smooth skater with offensive upside. He has the ability to move the puck to his own teammates (instead of the other team like some Oilers defensemen) and create offensive opportunities. He’s incredibly mobile on ice and maneuvers well along the blue line and the boards. He has an active stick, which he uses to defend. Jones isn’t the biggest defenseman, but his skating and active stick allow him to be a capable defenseman against all types of opponents.
Jones is a two way defenseman who shows promise to develop into a player who could slot into the Oilers lineup behind defenders like Klefbom and Nurse. If the Oilers choose to trade Jones (because too many defenseman on the left and not enough on the right), they would be better to continue to develop him slowly instead of rushing him. Paired with Ethan Bear in Bakersfield, Jones should continue to develop into one of the Condors top defenders.
Jones will see a lot of ice time in Bakersfield this season, and his development should continue. If Jones can add some more offense to his strong defensive performance at the AHL level, he will definitely have a case for being included as an emergency call up for the Oilers in the future.
Why He Made the List at 12
This is a numbers game. Three of five Copper and Blue writers involved ranked Jones right around 12th. Ranking him outside the top ten primarily is due the time it will take Jones to develop into an NHL defender, the fact he is lower on the depth chart of left shooting defensemen, and his low point production in his rookie season in the AHL. Despite these factors, Jones still seems to have the potential to make an impact on an NHL blue line. Projected to be a lower pairing defenseman, Jones might not have the high ceiling of some of the top 10 prospects.
However, for a pick from the lower rounds of the draft, Jones has enough upside to make some waves in the Oilers organization and draw the interest of fans. Much like Lagesson, Jones’ 2018-2019 season will be pivotal in his development. If he has a strong season, manages to score a little more, and stays consistent, he’ll make a case to be seriously considered for some time as one of the Oilers blue line call ups.