clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

2016 NHL Entry Draft Prospect Profile: Max Jones

New, comments

The feisty London Knights forward has a reputation for rough stuff, but don't let it fool you: he's also one of the most skilled players in the draft

Codie McLachlan/Getty Images

Name: Max Jones

2015-16 Team: London Knights (OHL)

Stats: 63GP, 28 goals, 24 assists, 52 points, 106 PIMs, +30

Future Considerations Ranking: 20th

NHL Comparable Player: Chris Kreider

One word can be used to accurately summarize London Knights forward Max Jones: explosive.

Jones is blessed with impressive size, at roughly 6'2" and 203 pounds, and he also possesses a powerful and fluid skating stride. Able to get moving in a hurry thanks to a quick first step, Jones is nearly impossible to stop once he reaches full speed because he's strong on his skates and knows how to use his body to shield the puck.

Not only does he have great physical gifts, but he also loves to use them to make an impact once the puck is dropped. Jones is relentlessly tenacious all over the ice, whether he's barreling in on the forecheck or skating hard to get back on defense to disrupt an opposing team's scoring chance. He also doesn't shy away from the rough stuff, whether it's fighting for space in front of the net, digging for pucks along the boards or engaging in a little bit of extracurricular activity after the whistle.

As fast as his body moves, his mind is equally fast. He has a strong understanding of the flow of the game and always knows the optimal place to be on the ice. This makes him an especially dangerous threat on the penalty kill, using his awareness, long stick and quick first step to steal the puck and turn it up ice. Jones didn't get much power play time on a top-heavy Knights team, but in limited minutes still showed that he could succeed in that role by controlling the puck along the boards or parking himself in front of the net.

Jones isn't particularly adept at handling the puck, but he has a hard, accurate shot. Furthermore, he's very crafty and knows how to use his physical abilities to beat defenders in a variety of different ways. He's a skilled one-on-one player that has a large bag of tricks at his disposal and is able to quickly process which ones are the best to use in any given situation.

While he's undoubtedly a skilled player, his general reputation is primarily as a pest, and it's hard to argue that it's not justified. Jones is incredibly chippy and loves to talk trash his opponents to get them off their game.

A perfect example of this was at the Memorial Cup in a round-robin game against the WHL's Brandon Wheat Kings. Despite these two teams from two different leagues not playing against each other all season, the players on the Wheat Kings hated Jones right from the drop of the puck. They were going after him as much as they could, but it would up being a death sentence as they took three separate penalties against him. London went 4-for-5 on the power play and skated away with a dominant 9-1 win. Advantage: Jones.

Unfortunately, for all guys that love to play with an edge there's always that delicate tightrope walk to not cross over the line. Jones crossed that line in this year's OHL playoffs, delivering a dangerous blindside hit that earned him a 12-game suspension. One of the biggest keys for him going forward into an NHL career will be maintaining that competitive edge without it becoming an issue.

All that being said, Jones nevertheless deserves consideration as a top prospect in this year's draft. It's a cliche that's used far too often, but he truly is a player that makes a difference every time he's on the ice, and the bigger the stage, the better. He had four points in four games and played a major role in the Knights winning this year's Memorial Cup.

Will the Dallas Stars be interested in him? Considering general manager Jim Nill's recent preference at the draft for forwards that combine both size and skating (Valeri Nichushkin, Denis Gurianov, and Roope Hintz) and recent comments about the team getting bigger and faster it seems likely that Jones could be very, very high on the Stars' list.