Jones eyes future with Oilers

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:47 PM ET

Ryan Jones likes the Oilers and the Oilers like Ryan Jones ó the question in each case is, how much?

Enough to keep him an Oiler past July 1?

Too early to tell, but the two sides have been negotiating since before the NHL trade deadline, when the Jones camp rejected Edmontonís opening offer.

ďRight now my mindset is to hopefully get something done here,Ē said Jones, whoís had a breakout season with 18 goals. ďBut Iíve earned the opportunity to be an unrestricted free agent. If it doesnít work out Iíll have to go a different route.

ďThereís been talks going on all along, whether itís been numbers or trying to feel things out Ö by no means have either one of us moved on. My thoughts right now are I hope to be here.Ē

Jones is in an enviable position, having upped his stock from waiver-wire pickup to a commodity most teams covet ó a blue-collar guy with decent hands who goes to the tough areas to score goals. What thatís worth, to the Oilers or 29 other teams if it comes to that, will determine where he winds up.

On one hand, he has the freedom to determine his own fate; on the other, heís at the mercy of an ever changing, and ever more careful, market.

ďThe downside is the market is unpredictable,Ē he said. ďEvery year you donít know what is going to happen. Thereís no real comparables when you go into free agency, it just matters what teams want. Iíd like to think that I played myself into a position where Iím in demand, but that might not be the case.

ďItís stressful because everybody wants to know what your thoughts are,Ē he said. ďSome people just assume that youíre going to test free agency when thatís not the case. Other people assume that itís 100% that youíre going to stay. Itís one of those things that has to work out best for both parties. A lot of the times it does. Sometimes it doesnít.Ē

Even though the grass might be greener with money on the other side, money isnít always the key to happiness. Anson Carter decided to hold out for the highest bidder after scoring 33 goals with the Sedins rather than stay in Vancouver for less money. He was out of the NHL 64 games later.

Jones knows he has a good situation here, having carved a niche on a team that might be on the rise.

ďYou establish a role with one team and itís not necessarily going to be the role you have with another team. You have to take that into consideration,Ē he said. ďBut the biggest thing Iím dealing with is I know Iím not going to play hockey till Iím 50, I want some security. Because Iíve had a good year it would be nice to get some security out of the whole thing. I have a good spot here, Iíve worked an identity out with the Oilers, hopefully we can get something done.Ē

robert.tychkowski@Sunmedia.ca

TWITTER.com/TYCHKOWSKI


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