Day three of Oilers Orientation Camp is underway and experienced camp-goer Caleb Jones says he really feels a heightened comfort level with the staff and players at this years camp.
“Last year, coming in as a first year guy, there were guys like [Darnell] Nurse and [Leon] Draisaitl and Connor [McDavid], that’s three pretty good players right there in development camp, you don’t see that too often,” said the Oilers defensive prospect.
“I think this year for me, I have a lot more confidence and I kind of want to be one of the best players out there for sure. I kind of also want to be a leader for the younger guys that are coming in and try to help them out, [those] that just got drafted.”
Coming off a big season playing with the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks, Jones put up big numbers, recording 10 goals and 45 assists for 55 points in 72 games, as well as two points in four post-season games.
When the Winterhawks were knocked out of their post-season run in the first round, Jones had a chance to join the Oilers AHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, for the remainder of their season.
“It was great for me,” he said. “I thought I played pretty well up there, coming in. I was one of the younger players on the team, obviously, so I had to learn a lot from the veteran players but the game was definitely a lot faster, a lot bigger, stronger players, but I got adjusted pretty well I felt like, it was good.”
With his overall 2015-16 playing experience, Jones said he found the transition into his second camp to be quite seamless with both the players and staff.
“I’m really comfortable, especially when I went off to Bakersfield within the last year, I had a chance to be with Gerry [Fleming] and his staff for a couple weeks, which was great,” he said.
“I’ve obviously seen Todd now a couple times at camp and rookie camp last year, so I’m pretty comfortable with it and I just want to soak up everything they say because they’re the coaches of the NHL team so eventually, hopefully you’re playing for them one day.”