Take a look at the makeup of the Ducks and the direction they're looking to head in, and you get the feeling this is a big season for Max Jones.
The 23-year-old left winger had seven goals in just 46 games last season and is one of the young Ducks forwards looking to bring more offense to a team that ranked 31st in the league in goals last season. For the likeable Jones, the hope is to make an impact in other areas as well, as the former 24th overall draft pick heads into his fourth campaign in a Ducks sweater.
Speaking of, Jones is as close to being an actual duck as anyone on the Ducks. He recently revealed, "I have webbed toes. My second and third toes are webbed on both feet" when asked to name something fans would never guess about him (see below).
The native of Rochester, Michigan spoke after a recent preseason game about his hopes going into this season and the effect seeing fans back in the building will have.
On taking on a more physical role this season
You know what, I don't know if I look at it as a role. I kind of look at it as just who I am. I'll play whatever role they need me to play, be on the ice late to score a goal, save a goal, whatever they need from me. I take pride in just being one of those guys, hopefully, and the feistiness comes with it. There's a line that I've always had to draw since I was a kid. I've been working on that, not crossing that line and going over the edge and taking penalties. Last year was a good year. My penalty minutes weren't high at all, so it was one of those things that I take pride in right now, playing feisty but not crossing that line.
This past summer I started to watch a lot of different sports and you can tell the guys that are the best are always the ones who are engaged. Football players, basketball players, baseball players, it's the ones who are so heavily engaged and show a lot of emotion. So that's something I've tried to take pride in.
On seeing more time on the penalty kill this season
I want to do everything and hopefully do it really well. And if I'm successful at it, then it'll help the team. I want to do everything I can to help move this team forward. I think everyone here is ready to take that next step and start winning more games, and I think it starts in the offseason and starts in the room. Yeah, I certainly would like to be a part of all situations.
On what he worked on over the summer
I was working a lot on my patience. I like to think I'm a pretty fast player, so sometimes I get a little too ahead of myself, and if I can slow it down, then even if I'm moving at a high speed and I can keep my hands engaged in it, I can make some pretty dangerous plays. That's what I've been trying to work on. Going to the net and everything, that'll always be there, fighting for pucks, throwing the body. That'll always be there, but it's the things that I don't normally do is what I need to work on.
Just thinking about the game [early in the preseason], I had three opportunities on my off-side shooting across my body, which I can do in practice and I can shoot and hit that corner every time, but as soon as you get in a game situation, it's different. I wasn't looking at the net, so that's something where tomorrow I'll get on the ice and try to fix that. And again, it's little things like that that'll get another few goals and help the team.
On setting goals for himself going into a season
I don't really. My main goal is to be a championship-winning team. That's what I grew up wanting to be. It wasn't, "I want to be an NHL player." It was, "I want to win a Stanley Cup." I think everyone in that room wants to do that. Individually, I don't really set goals for myself because I could go out and score 30 goals and our team could be dead last. That doesn't help anything. I want to do whatever role that helps our team win games, and I think that's what everyone really needs to do. We talk about it, all of us, young guys and our veteran guys. I mean, we all know. We don't want to mess around anymore. We're trying to keep this real tight in our room, and again, hopefully moving forward here, we can take accountability and responsibility for our actions on the ice and just go from there.
On having fans in the building again
It's great. It's a thrill for sure. I'm excited for what's to come with the home opener and everything after that. I think it's something everyone gets really excited for, the energy, the noise, and it's certainly a lot better. I mean, you think about last season with no one in the building, I'm not sure those scrums happen in front of the net or at the bench like you see when there are fans in the building. You get that noise behind you, and it kind of gets you amped up. [Early in the preseason], I certainly was out there screaming across the ice. Fans were egging me on, and it made me feel at home. So that's a good thing about playing home games and I'm real excited for once the season starts.
More on Max:
Favorite hockey moment: My first NHL game (in Minnesota on January 17, 2019)
Favorite vacation spot: Maui, Hawaii
Favorite song to hear in warmups: Levels by Avicii
Favorite comedy movies: Semi-Pro, Land of the Lost, Step Brothers, Superbad
Favorite TV shows: Supernatural, Game of Thrones
Favorite current (or former) Ducks player: Cam Fowler
Favorite album: Astroworld by Travis Scott
Favorite Orange County restaurant: "A" Restaurant in Newport Beach
Favorite concert: The Lumineers or Eric Church
Favorite thing fans would never guess about me: I have webbed toes. My second and third toes are webbed on both feet.
Favorite drink: Non-alcoholic is water. Alcoholic is Casamigos reposado on the rocks with lime
Favorite candy: Kit Kat
Favorite animal: Dogs
Favorite toy when I was a kid: Thomas the Train
Favorite sport to watch besides hockey: Rugby