ColoradoAvalanche.com is profiling draft-eligible prospects leading up to the 2016 NHL Draft in Buffalo on June 24-25. Max Jones is the No. 14-ranked North American skater in the NHL Central Scouting’s final rankings. The Avalanche has the 10th overall selection at the draft.
Already celebrating both an Ontario Hockey League and Memorial Cup championship, Max Jones of the London Knights will likely be given more to celebrate at the 2016 NHL Draft in June.
As NHL Central Scouting’s 14th-ranked North American skater, Jones’ 6-foot-2, 203-pound frame makes him a true power forward with dynamic scoring ability.
“He possesses a rare blend of size, speed and skill,” remarked Central Scouting's Matt Ryan to NHL.com. “His separation speed and quickness make him a very intriguing prospect. He is a very dynamic skater for his size, which allows him to get into prime scoring areas, creating chances for him to utilize his soft touch around the net.”
Jones displayed all of these characteristics during a successful 2015-16 season with the Knights. In 63 games, he notched 28 goal and 24 assists for a total of 52 points, which finished tied for third among all OHL rookies. His physicality was highly evident, as he recorded 106 penalty minutes. He also earned a plus-30 rating.
“London is an extremely talented team and Max has done an impressive job of adjusting to the OHL,” Ryan noted. “He has been an extremely consistent performer and has shown steady development from the beginning of the season. The energy and passion he plays with is undeniable, and he has utilized his assets to be a positive factor for the London Knights.”
Jones was named as a finalist for the OHL Rookie of the Year award.
The benefits he offered London contributed to a remarkable 105-point regular season, which culminated in a league championship. However, Jones sat for the majority of the playoffs, serving a 12-game suspension for an illegal hit to the head in Game 4 of the Knights' first round series against the Owen Sound Attack.
The team has been able to transfer its regular season and playoff success to become Memorial Cup champions. Jones produced on this stage as well, with four points (two goals and two assists) including a key short-handed goal in the round-robin game against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on May 24. In the championship final, Jones was integral in setting up several scoring chances as well as Christian Dvorak’s late equalizer to force overtime.
Prior to his time with London, Jones was a member of the U.S. National Team Development Program's Under-17 Team, where he led Team USA in goals (seven) and lifted the squad to a second-place finish at the 2014 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. During the regular season with the NTDP, he tallied 28 points (18 goals, 10 assists) in 38 games.
A native of Rochester, Michigan, hockey runs in the 18-year-old’s blood, as his father, Brad Jones, played six seasons in the NHL from 1986-1992 with the Winnipeg Jets, Los Angeles Kings and Philadelphia Flyers.
"He thinks the power forward role in the NHL is a big one,” Jones said of his father’s influence to NHL.com. “I try to play that role as best as I can, and he obviously knows what the power forward role is because he played in the NHL for six years, so anything he tells me I just listen to him.”
With a possible NHL career on the horizon, Jones will likely have the opportunity to fill that role one day at the next level.