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ROSTER REBOOT: Caleb Jones

After a 17-game stint with the Oilers last season, defence prospect Caleb Jones has 'never had more confidence' ahead of Oilers Training Camp

by Paul Gazzola / EdmontonOilers.com

EdmontonOilers.com is checking in with Oilers players and prospects in our Roster Reboot series as they discuss their summer activities and gear up for the 2019-20 season.

EDMONTON, AB - Caleb Jones doesn't want a cup of coffee. 

He wants the full pot.

The prospect, drafted in the fourth round (117th-overall) of the 2015 NHL Draft, got his first taste of National Hockey League action in the 2018-19 season when he suited up for 17 games with the Oilers while Ken Hitchcock was overseeing Edmonton's bench. He registered his first career NHL point just three games into his stint with the big club then tallied his first career goal just three outings later, eventually concluding his call-up with six points in 17 contests. 

Video: AUDIO | Caleb Jones Interview 08.30.19

The sip with the Orange & Blue left his thirst for more unquenched but proved to the young defender that he can compete in the most competitive league in hockey.

This off-season, he's been brewing in Texas, preparing for the opportunity to be a full-time NHLer.

"I'm ready for it," Jones told EdmontonOilers.com via phone. 

"I'm ready to go for it. It's everyone's dream to play in the NHL. After having that taste last year, I proved to myself that I can compete at that level."

Jones took a step away from the ice after the Bakersfield Condors were bounced from the postseason in their second-round series versus the San Diego Gulls. In addition to his impactful time with the Oilers, getting that dose of playoff experience in the American Hockey League was also valuable.

"I think my first rookie pro season I struggled a bit adjusting to the pro game," Jones admitted. "And then I think I just came in last year with the mindset of just going after it. Not worrying about making mistakes out there. 

"I think that was my big problem in my first year: I was always worried about trying to do things just right and trying to just do everything that everyone else was talking about."

Video: THE DRILL | E10: Bakersfield

Another benefit for Jones is training with his brother Seth, the All-Star defenceman who protects the Columbus Blue Jackets' blueline. The two have been training together for the majority of the off-season, working with specialized strength and skills coaches.

"I've been training with him all summer," Jones, who had six goals and 29 points with the Condors in 50 regular season games last year, said. 

"I strive to do all the things he does better. It's a good competition and we help push each other that way."

Following an off-season of change for the organization, newly-appointed Oilers Associate Coach Jim Playfair is not holding any reservations for the defenders eyeing a spot in the lineup. Rather, he's looking for defenders that can help the team win once the season begins in October.

"The exhibition games are so important and that's why the early part of the schedule is so important for us," Playfair told 630 CHED Oilers Now Host Bob Stauffer on Wednesday. "It's to figure out who can step in and help us win games. If it's (Evan) Bouchard, if it's (Joel) Persson, if it's (Caleb) Jones - whoever it happens to be - we're not limiting it right now to a window of two or three guys."

Jones' confidence is at an all-time high. The rearguard is convinced he can evolve into an everyday NHL player and doesn't waver from that belief.

"I've never had more confidence that I'm going to go in and take a spot," Jones said.

"That's my goal: Go in there and play well enough to make sure you leave no doubts in their minds that they need you on their roster."

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