EDMONTON - Kellen Jones wasn’t expecting to get drafted.
If anything, Jones figured his twin brother Connor would be the player NHL teams took a flyer on in the later rounds of the Entry Draft in June.
Conner had scored more goals last season, and had been interviewed by more scouts throughout the season.
Yet, when the Edmonton Oilers stepped up to the podium for the second time in the seventh round to announce their final selection, it was Kellen they picked.
Got text messages
“I was actually playing ball and I got a bunch of text messages and phone calls congratulating me,” said Jones. “I wasn’t sure what they were for and then I saw that I had been drafted by the Oilers. I was in the middle of a game and I got really unfocused and I didn’t play very well.
“I thought Connor would go before me, because he had a really good year, scored more goals and talked to all the scouts. But when I found out I got drafted I just hoped that he would be able to come to camp with me.”
As it turned out, Connor did join his twin brother as the Oilers invited both to their rookie development camp, taking place this week at Clareview Arena.
The two Montrose, B.C., natives played with the Vernon Vipers last season, winning their second consecutive Junior A national championship.
“We grew up playing hockey together, and even though Kellen played defence a little bit when he was younger, we were always trying to get on the ice at the same time,” Connor said.
“We’ve played with each other all the way up through junior, which has been really special, having your brother and your best friend beside you wherever you go.”
Kellen finished the year with 15 goals and 37 assists for 52 points in 51 games, while Connor registered 19 goals and 41 assists for 60 points in 60 games for the Vipers.
Both received scholarships to Quinnipac University, where they’ll be playing this upcoming season.
“The last two years have been really good,” Kellen said. “Winning a pair of national championships is as good as it gets. We had a great team there, we had great teammates, and I’m definitely going to miss them.”
At five-foot-nine, 165-pounds, the pair are long shots to earn a professional contract with the Oilers. Regardless, they’re trying to make the most of the opportunity to skate alongside the future of the club in Jordan Eberle, Taylor Hall and Magnus Paajarvi.
“It hasn’t sunk in yet that I was drafted to the NHL,” Kellen said. “It’s really cool. Being around guys like Eberle and Hall, that’s something you don’t do every day. It’s cool because that’s the No. 1 pick overall and you’re sitting right beside him.”
Will be monitored
The two are expected to join the club for rookie camp in September and then will be monitored by the Oilers while at school.
They’ve so far looked good at camp, although there has been some issue as to who is who.
“They’re both Jonesy right now,” smiled Oilers head coach Tom Renney. “I know the family pretty well, I know their grandpa and I know their dad really well. They’re good little players, I like those two, there is not a lot to dislike about them out on the ice, so it’s kind of exciting.”
If nothing else, the pair could one day provide depth for the Oilers farm system.
“We have an obligation to our minor-league team, to field a good team there as well, give ourselves some type of depth on top of that,” Renney said.
“And you never know, the way this game is evolving, you never know where this thing can end up five or six years from now.”