With the Flyers needing skilled size up front, should Julien Gauthier not be available, one alternative is Max Jones.
The son of former Flyer Brad Jones, Max Jones is a projected mid first round pick who could find his way to the Flyers.
Via Elite Prospects:
Max Jones is a diligent and hard-working power forward capable of being an impact player every shift. He’s strong on the puck and routinely looks to create separation. He knows his game inside out and has a wide array of tools at his disposal. Strength and speed allow him to bull his way to the front of the net where he is relentless and creates havoc. Makes smart decisions with the puck and doesn’t give the opposition time and space. Possesses high-end finishing ability and “wills” the puck to the back of the net. All-in-all, a determined forward who puts tremendous pressure on his opponents when he’s on the ice. (Curtis Joe, EP 2016)
Max Jones is probably not the player the Flyers need. One major area of concern for a power forward type like him is his lack of scoring. Julien Gauthier was, on top of being big and strong, an elite scorer. Max Jones is not.
Now, while the OHL is a more difficult league than the QMJHL, it’s very concerning that Jones was under a point per game, and unlike Gauthier, didn’t make up for it by being a pure goal scorer.
Of course, on the other hand, when it comes to stylistic comparables to Jones, Milan Lucic, Ryan Getzlaf and the Flyers own Wayne Simmonds, were all under one point per game in their draft year. Simmonds, like Jones, was also an OHL player, while Getzlaf and Lucic came from the WHL.
So, there is precedent of players like Jones becoming top six NHL forwards. That said, for those three success stories, there are also players like Logan MacMillan, Phillipe Paradis and Greg Nemisz.
So essentially, it’s a coin flip on Max Jones, Simmonds, Getzlaf and Lucic all become top six NHL players, Paradis, MacMillan and Nemisz will likely be career minor leaguers and Europeans.
Of note, when searching for comparable players, I hand searched drafts from 2003-2012 looking for forwards taken in the first round from a Canadian junior league who fix the criteria. As full disclosure, I’m aware that Lucic and Simmonds were second round picks. Of course, this is where draft value comes into play. Taking Max Jones at 18 carries more risk than say, taking him in Round 2 with the pick acquired in the Kimmo Timonen trade. Even if the Flyers were to package those two picks and take Jones at 30-35, it’s still less risky than taking him with the 18th pick.
Max Jones types don’t really lend themselves to scoring predictions. The variance in cases like this make the model questionable for any predictive value. Obviously if the Flyers draft Jones, it’s because they think he’s more Simmonds than Paradis, of course, should Jones be Paradis or Nemisz, Flyers fans would probably love to see the Devils grab him instead.
Of course, when it comes to off-ice qualities, Max Jones scores major points for thinking bow ties are cool.
#49 Max Jones (Photo by Dave Reginek)