Well after the trade deadline, it was announced that the Minnesota Wild had acquired 31 year old forward David Jones in exchange for long-time goaltender Niklas Backstrom and a 2016 6th round pick. The Flames take on a contract that has hamstrung the Wild for three seasons, and the Wild get some forward depth, and some much needed roster flexibility.
David Jones was drafted in the 9th round (288th overall) by the Colorado Avalanche in 2003. The Vancouver, British Columbia has since spent nine seasons in the NHL, having only spent one season in the AHL with the Lake Erie Monsters. He has never played a full 82-game season with his career high coming in 2010-11 when he notched 42 points with the Avs. He signed a four-year, $16 million contract as an unrestricted free agent with the Flames in 2013-14. His current contract will expire this summer and he will again become an UFA.
"David is a veteran player. He's played many years in this league. He's had a couple 20 goal seasons, and he brings versatility to the table," Chuck Fletcher said about the new depth forward. Jones is very much a depth forward, someone who can play bottom six minutes. He has not been a huge puck possession force on the ice, but next to guys like Jarret Stoll and Ryan Carter. He will actually be the best possession forwards on that line with a 43.2 CF% on the year at 5-on-5. And the hope will be that he could provide some, while small, ability to score from a fourth line that will mostly be deployed in the defensive zone and to provide energy. His shots per 60 minutes of 23.93 is better than current Wild players Jonas Brodin, Chris Porter, Erik Haula, Jarret Stoll, Jordan Schroeder, and Christian Folin. Jones is coming from a Calgary team that was ranked 25th in the league in Corsi For percentage, and the hope is that he can help a fourth line of the Wild that struggles to get shots and keep the offensive zone at times.
Even moreso, the trade allows the Wild to use the once occupied roster spot by Niklas Backstrom. The wasted roster spot on a player that wasn't playing is an underrated factor when making call-ups and keeping enough depth at the NHL level for injury or relief starts for other players. Though Jones' $4 million cap hit doesn't allow a ton of flexibility, the Wild now have a contract they can play with, rather than dealing with a No-Move Clause.
All-in-all, this move isn't going to one that "wows" anyone. And most moves for depth players won't have a "wow" factor. However, getting rid of Backstrom's contract and opening up that roster spot and adding a player that can help an otherwise struggling 4th line, that should mean John Torchetti can roll four lines in all situations as the Wild makes a run to make the playoffs.