“We’re looking for offense from some guys, and I think Jonesy is one of those guys who has to step up,” coach Joe Sacco said. “He did last game, so maybe that’s a good sign for us.” –via DenverPost.com 02/07/2012
When the head coach says something along these lines it is time to either put up or shut up. The numbers don’t lie. David Jones was tied with the team high in goals last season with 27. As of February 6, Jonesy has 10 goals and 17 points this season. He is also at a minus 9 in 44 games this year.
Before Tuesday’s game, Jones sure has not lived up to his $2.5 million per season contract. With Jones becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season does not help his cause to stay in Denver. Teams look at contract years as make or break years for players. If a player performs past expectations then more times than not they are rewarded with a nice extension and raise. If their performance is sub-par then “it has been nice knowing you.”
Granted the Avs are in a rebuilding phase and every player is trying to find their spot on the team. Jones is simply under a mountain of pressure to perform. He was given his current salary based on what numbers the Avalanche thought he would put up on a nightly basis. Last season, Jones met those expectations and everything seemed to be smooth going into the 2011-2012 season.
David Jones had a golden opportunity to sew up his spot on the Avalanche roster next season with Duchene going down due to a knee injury. The Avs were in desperate need of an offensive presence to step-up and keep Colorado on pace with Duchene out. The Avalanche did have a player step-up and fill Duchene’s void but it was not filled by Jonesy, the rookie Landeskog filled it.
Two teams that may have their eye on Jones are the Los Angeles Kings and San Jose Sharks. Those two teams are looking to acquire some offensive firepower and Jones may be California just may be the place Jones needs to go to reestablish his identity.
Head coach Joe Sacco is not willing to hang Jones out to dry just yet. On Monday Sacco had Jones skate with Stastny and Hejduk on the number one line. Sacco is famous for mixing up his lines to create opportunities for players and wreak havoc on opposing coaches. In Tuesday’s game against the Blackhawks, Jones was at a plus 2 and was on the ice for 3 of 5 of Colorado’s goals.
David Jones is in a sticky place right now. The unwanted media attention is a double-edged sword. By his play on Tuesday, Jones showed he was unaffected by it. The David Jones that showed up Tuesday was the David Jones Avs fans have been expecting all year. Only time will tell if Jones’ first star performance will be enough to keep him in Avs country. One thing is for certain though, Jones caught a lot of team’s attention on Tuesday night and the Avalanche are now in a very comfortable driver’s seat.
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