Background and History
Caleb Jones was drafted by the Oilers in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Jones who the Oilers selected in the fifth round, 117th overall, represents one of only a handful of lower round draft picks the Oilers have had success with. Jones played his junior with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks; he has also won both U18 and U20 World Junior Championship tournaments with the USA. Jones whose draft stock might have been influenced by being the younger brother of Seth Jones, had a decent junior career with a high of 64 points in his rookie year.
Jones has played his last two seasons with the Condors the in AHL and played 17 games in the 2018-2019 season for the Edmonton Oilers. He had one goal and 5 assists for six points during his stint in the NHL. He added another six goals and 23 assists in 50 games in Bakersfield.
Jones is listed as starting his third season in Bakersfield come October, but he has the opportunity to make an impact on the Oilers scours and management during training camp in the fall. Jones has the potential to make the Oilers roster, even if he doesn’t make it stick for the entire season.
Why He Made the List
Jones is a versatile two-way defender who represents one of the Oilers few late round draft wins in the last several years. Why wouldn’t he make the list? Jones is an aggressive and tireless defender whose game is well suited to the physical aspects of being a more defensively minded player.
He also has decent mobility, an active stick, and an accurate shot. When all of these things are put together, Jones seems to be a solid defensive prospect for the Oilers. While, he’s not flashy like some Oilers prospects and he won’t make an immediate impact like others, Jones does seem to have the tools required to make the jump from the AHL to the NHL on a more permanent basis.
Jones’ development in the Oilers system has followed a fairly normal trajectory. He made the jump from the WHL to the AHL in 2017-2018. In his rookie season, he played 58 games and collected 43 points. Last season, Jones spent a significant amount of time on the Oilers blueline and was one of the few bright spots in a relatively unhappy season. This is not to say Jones didn’t make mistakes – he did – but the clear potential being developed was certainly interesting for Oilers fans to watch.
Why He Made the List at 7
Jones’ position is heavily influenced by his strong 2018-2019 season. Having joined the Oilers last season, Jones looks poised to take the next step in his career. Of course, the caution is as a defender, Jones’ career path isn’t always a straight line. Ethan Bear – a contemporary of Jones’ in Bakersfield is proof of that. Despite having a lower point total than in his previous season, Jones took a step forward. He is expected to push more established NHL defenders at camp this season but start in Bakersfield. Jones does give the Oilers some options for their defenders this season Depending on his performance, he may be rejoining the Oilers in a limited role during the 2019-2020 season.
Jones is in the last year of his entry level contract and will be looking to make a splash. A defender who shoots left, Jones may once again see himself compared with Bear in Bakersfield as they both work to get themselves into an NHL lineup. The major difference being that Bear shoots right and may have less established NHL players ahead of him on the depth chart.