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Caleb Jones Understands Role, Ready When Needed; ‘That’s The Job’




For any role player in the NHL, half of the battle has to be accepting what your job is on the team. The Colorado Avalanche seem to have found someone who has done just that.

“I kind of knew what was coming when I got traded here,” defenseman Caleb Jones told me on Friday.

The 26 year old defenseman was called up in early November when a few injuries hit the Avalanche blueline. From there, he played 12 games, chipping in with a few assists and playing solid all-around hockey.

However, the last time he played was on Dec. 5 against the Anaheim Ducks. It’s nothing that he’s done wrong that has led to him spending the last little while in the press box.

Jared Bednar said he’s been happy with not just Jones’ play, but also his consistency. The team just wants to get a look at Sam Malinski, who has responded with four points in his last four games.

Malinski has impressed Jones.

“I think Sammy is playing really well,” Jones said. “He’s new to the league, and he’s a rookie, and he’s a great kid. It’s great to see him doing well.”

Jones will get his opportunity back in the lineup soon, perhaps as early as this weekend. Both Josh Manson and Cale Makar seem a little banged up, and Bednar doesn’t typically like to have players sit in the press box too long without action. Whenever he gets the call, Jones is raring to go.

“I’m just trying to stay ready,” he said. “Whenever I get in there, and whenever they determine they want me back in there, I’ll be ready to go. That’s the job.”

While in the lineup, Jones has spent a lot of time on the right side. As a left-handed shot, it’s not ideal, but he’s used to it. There are always more lefties than righties on teams, so someone has to switch.

The Avalanche actually wanted to keep Jones on his strong side, but given who he was playing with, he knew that wouldn’t last long.

“I played with Jack (Johnson) in Chicago last year, “Jones said. “We just knew right away that I’d go to the right, and he’s more comfortable on the left. That’s just something I have in my toolkit and can use and be helpful that way.”

If you’re like me, you’re probably wondering how the heck Jones ended up with a number like 82. Turns out, it was just given to him back at rookie camp with the Edmonton Oilers. When he ended up in Chicago, he wanted to take the number 4, but someone he knew got first dibs.

“My brother (Seth Jones) wouldn’t let me have it,” Jones said. “I just decided to stay with it (82). It’s kind of one of those weird things now. It’s just kind of followed me around.”

Big brothers usually get what they want, I guess.

If he had his way, his ideal choice for a number would be 6. After the reaction the fans had to Erik Johnson the other night, that might not have gone over so well.

“I don’t think 6 was going to work out here,” he joked.

Jones and the Avalanche are in Winnipeg to take on the Jets tonight in a battle for first place in the Central Division.

Colorado's premier coverage of the Avalanche from professional hockey people. Evan Rawal, Editor-in-Chief. Part of the National Hockey Now family.

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