What it all means Some interesting fall out from the trade with Minnesota. First with the players we know.
The trade signals that the coaches expect Kevin Klein and Ville Koistinen, two restricted free agents, to play a larger role on next season’s team. Throughout the ’07-08 season the coaches routinely talked in glowing terms about Klein’s play during practices, but struggled to find a way to slide him into the lineup. Similarly, they spoke well of Koistinen’s performances – especially as a power-play quarterback– when he was dressed, but with all the depth had to rotate him into the lineup after Shea Weber returned from injury and the group was back at full strength. Koistinen ranked among rookie leaders in plus/minus rating (+13), defensemen scoring (17 points) and power-play scoring (11 power-play points). By moving Zidlicky, the team opened a clear path for both Klein and Koistinen to see more game time, while top prospects like Alexander Sulzer and Cody Franson – who looked impressive on and off the ice during the team’s 2008 Development Camp – slide one step closer to the big team.
As for the new player, Ryan Jones, he provides depth and further competition along the forward lines. A prolific scorer during his collegiate career, Jones scored 60 goals and 97 points in 84 games during his Junior and Senior seasons, serving as team captain both seasons. He was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award last season, college hockey’s equivalent of the Heisman Trophy. He had a knack for scoring timely goals in college, finishing his career with 21 game-winning scores, second most in Division I college history.
His college coach, Enrico Blasi, said of Jones, “He’s a player who will go into the areas no one else really wants to go into. He’s a big power forward. Good goal scorer; led us in scoring last year. He skates well and can contribute in all aspects of the game. Has a knack for getting into those areas to score those ugly goals. He’s willing to bang and crash in the corners and in front of the net.”
With 12 forwards already under contract for next season (Arnott, Bonk, Dumont, Erat, Fiddler, Legwand, Nichol, Ortmeyer, Radulov, Smithson, Sullivan, Tootoo), Jones will likely enter training camp competing for the final forward roster spots with last season’s super-sub Rich Peverley, top prospects Patric Hornqvist and Antti Pihlstrom, and newly acquired tough-guy Triston Grant.
“He’s one of those guys who will do anything a coach says,” Blasi said of Jones. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes there to training camp, plays the role the coaches tell him to play and ends up on the NHL roster either out of camp or if they decide to send him to the AHL, works hard there and finds himself back up in the NHL within a month or two.”
-Jay Levin, NashvillePredators.com
(July 1, 2008) – Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has acquired forward Ryan Jones and a second-round selection in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft from the Minnesota Wild for defenseman Marek Zidlicky.
( David Poile Discusses the Ryan Jones Trade
“Ryan Jones is a big and powerful young forward that adds size and skill to our organization,” Poile said. “Additionally, the second-round pick gives us 13 selections in next summer’s draft which is projected to be a deep draft. This move will also allow our core blueliners like Ryan Suter
, Shea Weber
and Dan Hamhuis to take on more responsibility and ice time.”
Jones, 24 (6/14/84), spent the past four seasons at Miami University and did not miss a single game in his collegiate career, accumulating 147
points (90g-57a) in 161 games. As a senior and the captain of the Redhawks in 2007-08, the 6-2, 215-pound right wing was named to the West All-America First Team and a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award as college hockey’s most outstanding player after tallying 31 goals and 49 points in 42 games. Originally a fourth-round pick of the Wild (111st overall) in 2004, the Chatham, Ont., native played four regular season and four playoff games with Houston (AHL) after the completion of his collegiate career. He scored the game-winning goal at 6:57 of the second overtime in Game 2 of Houston's first round playoff series, his first goal as a professional.
With the acquisition of the second-round pick, the Predators already have 13 selections in next summer’s 2009 NHL Entry Draft, including two in the second round, two in the third round, three in the fourth round, two in the fifth round and two in the seventh round in addition to one each in the first and sixth rounds.
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