CALGARY - A goal-scorer by trade, David Jones had a hat-trick last NHL season.
As in, three goals to show for 33 skates after the lockout.
“I hope it was an aberration,” Jones said.
The Calgary Flames certainly hope so, too.
On Thursday afternoon, Flames GM Jay Feaster acquired Jones and rugged rearguard Shane O’Brien from the Colorado Avalanche in exchange for veterans Alex Tanguay and Cory Sarich.
If Jones can re-discover the offensive oomph — 27 tallies during his 2010-11 campaign and 20 more the following winter — that made him a top-six guy in the Mile High City, the Flames might have added a much-needed marksmen without surrendering any of the pieces of their long-term rebuilding plan.
If he scores at the same clip as last season, the soon-to-be 29-year-old will be pegged as over-paid and under-performing. Again.
That’s certainly what folks were saying during his three-goal, nine-point campaign for what turned out to be the worst team in the Western Conference last season.
The fact it was a shortened schedule, leaving less time to snap out of his funk? Not ideal.
The fact the 6-foot-2, 210-lb. right-winger had just signed a four-year, US$16-million extension with the Avalanche? Even worse.
He’ll cost the Flames a $4-million cap hit in each of the next three seasons.
“The way I look at it is I played 33 games, and it was just a bad 33-game stretch — and those are going to happen. It’s just unfortunate that was essentially my entire season,” Jones said. “You mentioned a fresh start, and I think it’s a perfect time to come back and prove all those people wrong that said I didn’t deserve to get the contract and stuff like that. I know I can play, and I know I can score, so I’m looking forward to doing that in Calgary.”
The Flames, of course, could use the extra offence.
As you might’ve noticed on the transaction wire a few months back, Feaster traded away the Flames’ go-to goal-scorer on the right wing.
Jones won’t be the next Jarome Iginla, but the occasional snipe from that side would be a welcome addition.
“(Flames assistant coach) Jacques Cloutier actually coached David Jones, so Jacques know him very well, and I got a text message from Jacques: ‘Great acquisition. Great move. I love it,’ and a thumbs-up symbol,” Feaster said. “I told David, himself, when I spoke with him that ‘I don’t want you to be worrying about your contract and how much money you make or how many goals you think you should score because of your contract.’
“I said, ‘All we want you to do is come in and play. We want you to be that guy that drives the net. We want you to be a guy that hangs onto the puck and protects the puck well. We want you to be a guy that goes north-south.’
“The other stuff? We’re not placing expectations in terms of ‘Oh, you have to score so many goals.’ ”
The organization might not be heaping expectations on Jones, who lived in the Stampede City for a few years as a youngster and married a former University of Calgary student, but the fan-base likely won’t be satisfied with just three goals.
O’Brien, who hasn’t scored any since March 26, 2012, doesn’t expect that will be an issue.
“The thing about Jonesy, if you get him the puck in the slot and he has a chance to shoot the puck, he’s going to score,” O’Brien said. “He has one of the best releases of anyone I’ve ever played with. He’s a natural goal-scorer, so I think he’ll put (last season) behind him.
“If he gets a chance to score, he usually buries it. I feel confident that he’ll bounce back and be the player that he was the previous years.”