Jones is a hard working, hard nosed and gritty power forward who plays an aggressive style that allows him to use his blend of speed, size and skill to wreak havoc on the ice. That can be a double edged sword, as he ran into some issues with the OHL and was suspended for 12 games which resulted in him missing most of the London Knights run to the OHL Championship.
Jones does possess a good skill set that if he can play within the rules, makes him a very attractive option for teams in the latter part of the first round.
- Age: 18, 1998-02-17
- Birthplace: Rochester, MI, United States
- Frame: 6’3″, 201 lbs.
- Position: LW
- Handedness: L
- Draft Year Team: London Knights
- Accomplishments/Awards: 2015/16 CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game, OHL Championship (15/16), U17 WHC Silver Medal (14/15), U17 WHC Most Goals (14/15)
|pGPS n||pGPS s||pGPS %||pGPS P/GP||pGPS R|
|NHL CSS||ISS||Future Considerations||HockeyProspect||Pronman||McKeen’s||McKenzie||Button|
He is a physical, nasty, and aggressive winger who plays the body, and drives the net hard, a true power forward. Has a dangerous combination of skating, size and skill and is very competitive. He may not have the same upside as Shane Doan or Milan Lucic, but he plays that type of game and could develop into that type of player.
Max Jones is a diligent and hard-working power forward capable of being an impact player every shift. He’s strong on the puck and routinely looks to create separation. He knows his game inside out and has a wide array of tools at his disposal. Strength and speed allow him to bull his way to the front of the net where he is relentless and creates havoc. Makes smart decisions with the puck and doesn’t give the opposition time and space. Possesses high-end finishing ability and “wills” the puck to the back of the net. All-in-all, a determined forward who puts tremendous pressure on his opponents when he’s on the ice.
This season with London, Jones put up counting stats that were just OK, but don’t be fooled by his lack of gaudy point totals. He is a legitimate top offensive talent. London was a loaded offensive team this season, and Matthew Tkachuk held down the top left wing spot, which relegated Jones to the second even-strength and power-play units. Jones is an above-average skater with a technically sound stride and very powerful first step. He is a coordinated puck handler with a fair amount of creativity and the ability to make defenders miss in open ice. Jones creates space on the ice very well with these attributes and is a tenacious worker with a strong frame and big shot. Jones has worked on his defensive play this season. His biggest remaining issues are discipline and decisions. He can cough the puck up at times, and he takes a lot of bad penalties, which shows that he can be pushed over the edge.
Generally playing in a second line role behind Christian Dvorak, Mitch Marner and 2016 draft eligible Matthew Tkachuk, Jones didn’t put up huge offensive numbers but as mentioned above still has a very attractive skill-set. He skates really well, uses his size to create space and has great finish around the net. Some of that may be due to him having a size advantage over the majority of his opposition, but it shouldn’t be ignored that Jones plays a style that could very well transfer to the NHL.
Jones could work on being more consistent on a nightly basis, and that is quite clear when we look at Jones goal and assist breakdown:
A bunch of outbursts in production during October, a sustained hot streak through January and then consistency through March, but otherwise, there is large gaps in production.
Another criticism is that he is a shoot first player who can appear to have tunnel vision when it comes to the net. If he is burying his chances, that isn’t a bad thing. He finished 8th in 2016 draft eligible forwards averaging 3.05 S/PG.
Those streaks resulted in a reasonably fluctuating P/GP for Jones.
Lastly, Jones had 52 points this season, with 42 of those points being primary points. His 0.667 primary points per game was ranked 12th amongst draft eligible OHL players.
Prior to the start of the season, Max Jones opted to move over to the OHL to join the powerhouse London Knights from the USNDTP. The same path was done by projected Top 10 pick Matthew Tkachuk. With an OHL championship and Memorial Cup title this season, so it looks like this plan paid off.
The aforementioned suspension, that resulted in Jones missing most of the OHL playoffs was a vicious blindside hit on Owen Sound defenceman Justin Brack, the video is below:
That is not a hit that you like to see at any level and hopefully the harsh punishment will make Jones think about how he plays. Normally, he is a very active hitter who uses this to wear down his opposition. Think of a player like Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson – someone who saw some disciplinary action over his first few years, but has started to look like he is reigning it in. If Jones can use this suspension as a learning opportunity, than he can hopefully continue to be the physical forechecker that he is without risking further disciplinary action.
When he is on his game, one thing that I have noticed, is that Jones is everywhere on the ice. He is on the forecheck, and then he is the first guy back on the backcheck. The work ethic is noticeable and should be rightfully commended.
When looking at Jones pGPS, a respectable 34.21% went onto becoming NHL regulars, which is fairly common at this point in the draft. If the Rochester native had seen a little more offensive production, than he would’ve rated higher. But given it was his first full season in the OHL, his production is exactly where it should’ve been expected to be.
It’s clear why Jones is regarded as a probable first round pick this June. He has the wheels, shot, and strength to be an NHL player and that is what will likely get him selected on draft day. You can’t blame teams for thinking that Jones has an desirable skill-set, because if he is able to make the step to the NHL level, his type of game is hard to find. But the risk is that once he faces a higher talent level on a nightly basis and where everyone else is his size or bigger, that he may hit a wall. It is common for players of the same ilk to run into that problem.
If Jones is able to make it, then the team who chose him will be glad them took him for years to come.