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Jones Has Imprressed Wild With Versatility

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

With all the talk about Niklas Backstrom facing his former team in the Minnesota Wild, the other piece of the trade deadline move that came back to the Wild is getting less press.

Forward David Jones did not spend 10 years in Calgary like Backstrom did in Minnesota (Jones played three season for the Flames), nor does he hold franchise records like Backstrom.

But in the three-plus weeks and 10 games Jones has worn a Wild sweater, he has impressed his teammates and coaches with his versatility and consistent performances, which they talked about prior to the Minnesota Wild hosting the Calgary Flames on Thursday.

"He's steady-Eddie," interim Head Coach John Torchetti said. "Good leadership qualities, and takes direction very well. Low-maintenance, which I really like."

Torchetti said that when Minnesota acquired Jones, he told the 31-year-old forward the Wild with experiment with using him in a few spots.

It's nothing new to Jones, who has played up-and-down NHL lineups his entire career, with two 20-goals seasons as a member of the Colorado Avalanche, and at other times tasked to take on more of a checking role.

"Not much changes in my game," Jones said. "I'm pretty much a basic up-and-down forward, and I try to use my size. It works well in different scenarios on different lines. They expect one thing from me wherever I'm playing, and I just try to bring that."

Jones line-dancing on the Wild has been bred more out of merit than necessity. He started in more of a scoring role with Mikael Granlund and Thomas Vanek before sliding down to the fourth line.

Then he occupied the injured Jason Pominville's spot with Erik Haula and Nino Niederreiter, before parlaying those minutes onto a line with Zach Parise and Mikael Granlund.

"It's sometimes hard for a player to keep switching, but he's just taken it all in stride," Torchetti said. "He just kept working, and it was like, 'He's worked really hard, he deserved to move up another line.'"

Jones' most common linemate at even-strength has been Jarret Stoll, whom he has played just under 32 minutes with.

But of the near 115 minutes at five-on-five Jones has played in Minnesota, he's spent at least 6.5% of that ice time with 10 different Wild forwards, emblematic of how comfortable the Wild is with using him in different spots.

"I've had kind of different roles throughout the lineup, but I'm just trying to play my game and do whatever I can to help us win, wherever I've stuck in," Jones said.

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