Knights On Ice’s 2019-20 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. Six Knights On Ice writers created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that forms the final ballot.
Since he was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Ben Jones has appeared to be much more than a typical seventh-round pick. In the season after he was drafted, Jones posted more than a point per game, with 79 points in 68 games. He then surpassed that total with 41 goals and 61 assists for 102 points in 68 games the following season.
His playoff production faltered slightly, dipping from 12 points in 10 games in 2017-18 to seven in 11 in 2018-19, but he continues to be a force to be reckoned with in both the regular season and postseason. He’ll finally reach the professional ranks this season when he joins the young Chicago Wolves roster.
No. 11: Ben Jones
Age: 20 (February 26, 1999)
Size: 6-foot, 190 pounds
The Golden Knights drafted Jones 189th overall in 2017; why he fell that far remains anybody’s guess. His draft year numbers weren’t the worst in the world, with 13-37—50 in 63 games and one assist in four playoff games, and his 6-foot, 190-pound frame wasn’t much of a factor either way. He’s been effective, though, and so far seems like a solid pick-up for Vegas.
Jones plays a strong two-way game and gets to the high-danger areas, the ice that’s hardest to survive in; that’s why he’s able to score so many points. He could become a taller version of Andrew Shaw, which is not a bad thing at all.
Jones was a leader on the OHL’s Niagara Ice Dogs (coincidentally, the same team for which Shaw once played) each of the last two seasons, and he wore the “C” this past year. He was a huge part of why the Ice Dogs finished in second place in their division and why they got as far in the playoffs as they did.
What a scramble! Ben Jones with 4 white jerseys in the crease finds the loose puck and the Icedogs have their first lead of the night! pic.twitter.com/hOcgMvmbJo— John Morris (@JohnMorrisR53) January 11, 2019
Arguably the biggest knock on Jones is that he’s picked up a reputation for diving in the OHL, which is something he’ll need to address (and likely something Wolves’ head coach Rocky Thompson will work on with him). But the fact that that’s likely his biggest criticism shows that Jones is a special player. His defense is excellent, and he’s found a way to significantly increase his offensive production since his draft year.
It has yet to be determined where Jones will slot in on the Wolves’ new roster, though it could greatly depend on whether Cody Glass ends up in the AHL or in the Golden Knights’ bottom six. Either way, Jones has clearly done enough to earn himself a look at a top-six spot with Chicago this year, and he can certainly play on both special teams units.
What he does in his first AHL season will say a lot about his NHL potential. If Jones lives up to the hype, he will turn out to be quite a steal for Vegas.
Previously in Vegas Golden Knights Preseason 2019 Top 25 Under 25:
- Introduction and honorable mentions
- No. 25, Peter Diliberatore
- No. 24, Xavier Bouchard
- No. 23, Brandon Kruse
- No. 22, Keegan Kolesar
- No. 21, Jack Dugan
- No. 20, Isaiah Saville
- No. 19, Layton Ahac
- No. 18, Jake Leschyshyn
- No. 17, Nicolas Roy
- No. 16, Valentin Zykov
- No. 15, Ivan Morozov
- No. 14, Kaedan Korczak
- No. 13, Pavel Dorofeyev
- No. 12, Dylan Coghlan