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Oilers, Jones agree to two-year deal

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Jones has agreed to a two-year contract with the team. (PERRY...

Edmonton Oilers forward Ryan Jones has agreed to a two-year contract with the team. (PERRY NELSON/QMI Agency Files)

DEREK VAN DIEST, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 2:59 AM ET

Ryan Jones always considered free agency to be a contingency plan.

The Edmonton Oilers forward wanted to stay in town and was not interested in testing the free-agent waters, despite putting up career numbers last year.

On Sunday, Jones got his wish, signing a two-year extension with the Oilers. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

"Going on the free-agent market was kind of a back-up plan," Jones said. "If there was no way that a deal was going to get done in Edmonton, then I guess that's what I was going to have to do.

"But as soon as we realized that the Oilers wanted me back, there was no real thought of going until July 1 (free-agency date)."

Jones scored a career-high 18 goals and added seven assists in 81 games with the Oilers last season.

He was one of the team's biggest surprises, having been a waiver-wire pickup the year before from the Nashville Predators, where he scored seven goals and added four assists in 41 games that season.

Jones proved to be one of the Oilers most versatile players last season, able to play up and down the lineup.

"I had the opportunity to play throughout the lineup," Jones said. "I didn't change my game that much from when I was in Nashville. Just there, it seemed that when I made mistakes I was out of the lineup. I had a very short leash.

"In Edmonton a new opportunity seemed to arise every week for me to play up in the lineup. I just went out, played hard, went to the net and got rewarded."

A Chatham, Ont., native, Jones, 26, was originally selected by the Minnesota Wild in the fourth round -- 111 overall -- of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft.

The product of the Miami University of Ohio, Jones was traded by the Wild to the Predators prior to the start of the 2008 season.

He's appeared in a total of 176 NHL games, scoring 33 goals and adding 21 assists.

Only Taylor Hall with 22, finished the year with more goals for the Oilers last season.

"I'm very excited about signing, I wanted to stay a part of the organization," said Jones. "It seemed like I wanted to stay there and they wanted me to be there, so it was just a matter of going through the negotiations. When I looked at the situation that I had and the opportunity I was given, combined with the future the team had, it was just a no-brainer that Edmonton was where I wanted to be.

"The future is bright, you look at the young guys that we had and they maturity they showed after being thrown into the fire last year with all our injuries. We're going to get another first overall pick and you always get a game-changing player with that pick, so the sky's the limit with this team."

Despite his new deal, which is thought to be worth significantly more than the $975,000 he made last season, Jones doesn't expect to change his approach to the way he plays the game.

"I really only have one way to play the game and that's hard," Jones said. "I try to play as hard as I can every shift and just go to the net. It's just a really simple game. If you try to get outside of the things that your good at, then you become ineffective.

"For my entire career, I've played this way and it's worked for me."

derek.vandiest@sunmedia.ca

twitter.com/DerekVanDiest


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