New Flame Jones believes he can be a part of a quick rebuild
Dealt from the Colorado Avalanche, winger already has one of the highest salaries on Calgary’s roster
The new face(s) of the Calgary Flames were trotted out Wednesday at the club’s temporary digs, McMahon Stadium — right winger David Jones and defenceman Shane O’Brien, acquired from Colorado; T.J. Galiardi from San Jose; and Calgary-born centreman Corban Knight, late of the Florida Panthers organization — for inspection.
Of the four, Jones represents the largest investment.
Before playing so much as a minute in the colours, he occupies joint-second on the club’s payroll list alongside Jiri Hudler at a $4 million salary-cap hit per annum (and, depending on what happens in free agency and/or to/with $6-million-man Steve Austin . . . er, Michael Cammalleri, Jones could co-jump to the front of the queue by the opening of training camp).
So needless to add that GM Jay Feaster is banking heavily on this David Jones being the 27-goal David Jones of three seasons ago, not the three-goal, nine-point David Jones of the lockout-shortened 2012.
“I was lucky enough,” Jones said Wednesday, “to play in a place for six years. That’s pretty rare these days. But I’m really happy for a fresh start. The season that I had last year, I think, was just one of those things. I had a bad stretch of games, I think I only played in 32.
“In your career you’re going to have peaks and valleys. It’s inevitable. But playing back in Canada is exciting, and coming here with some guys I know sure helps, too.
“I wouldn’t say it was about the fit (in Denver). Maybe after a little bit of time things get a bit stale. But the way I played last year . . . I had two great seasons before that. There’s no reason to think I won’t bounce back for the full season this year.
“A new start. A new city. Everybody here’s been so great, so welcoming. I can’t wait. Everything’s in order.”
With the exception, naturally, of the Scotiabank Saddledome and its readiness for the beginning of October.
“It’s one of those problems you have to deal with, I guess. I heard we might possibly play some pre-season games in Saskatchewan, and I’m sure if things can’t get sorted I’m sure the schedule makers can maybe start us on the road, find a way to work it out. But from all indications, it’ll be ready by the start of the regular season.”
Here, as in Denver, Jones finds himself in the throes of a — wait for it — rebuild. Despite collecting a nice array of young offensive talent, the Avs have not yet been able to deliver the payoff many analysts anticipated.
“We had a good team there, we just didn’t live up to expectations. And I don’t think it’s necessarily the end of the journey for them there. They’re going to be good going forward. I wish them the best” — a broad grin — “until the Western Conference finals when we meet them.
“In the league now, I don’t think it takes 10 years to rebuild a team. Not anymore. A couple of years and you can get right back it the mix. With all the incredible young players coming up, guys who can jump right in and play, I don’t think it’s going to be as long as people might believe.
“Plus, maybe if you’re a team that’s in a quote — rebuild — unquote, then you can fly in under the radar and surprise some people.”
Follow George Johnson on Twitter/GeorgejohnsonCH
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