Jones is an excellent defensive forward but didn’t produce last year in Chicago.
Knights On Ice’s 2020-21 preseason Golden Knights Top 25 Under 25 series ranks the top 25 players under the age of 25 currently in Vegas’ system. The KOI staff members created their own Top 25 Under 25 ballots. Each individual writer’s ballot was then used to generate a composite score that formed the final rankings.
Rounding out the first five prospects is Ben Jones, who finished at the No. 21 spot in our rankings.
Jones was selected in the seventh round (No. 189 overall) back in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, Vegas’ first non-expansion draft. Players chosen in the later rounds are often gambles, though Jones wasn’t exactly a risky choice. At the time, he was coming off a season in which he put up more than a point per game (79 points in 68 games).
No. 21: Ben Jones
- Position: C
- Age: 21
- Currently playing: Henderson Silver Knights
- Nationality: Canadian
The Waterloo, Ontario native demonstrated steady progression in his time with the Niagara Icedogs of the OHL, recording 50, 79 and 102 points in his final three seasons, respectively. He hit the 40-goal mark in this final season, finishing the year with 41 goals and 61 assists for 102 points as well as a plus-32 rating; he served as team captain that year. Jones added a combined 20 points in 25 playoff games over those three years.
Needless to say, expectations were high when Jones joined the Chicago Wolves last season for his first taste of AHL hockey.
However, the offense did not translate at the professional level.
In fact, Jones scored a combined 12 points in 44 games between the AHL and ECHL last season, a far cry from his 102-point campaign with Niagara back in 2018-19.
He posted two goals and five points in his first 22 games with the Wolves before getting reassigned to the Fort Wayne Komets of the ECHL. There, he tallied one goal and five points in eight games, but he finished his first pro season with just two goals and seven points in 36 contests.
The 6-foot, 194-pound center is a strong two-way player. He’s a defensive forward first and foremost, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a nice shot or quality offensive instincts.
There’s still time and room for Jones to grow, though his second pro season could strongly influence the trajectory of his career. If he’s unable to get the offensive juices flowing, it may be an indication that he’s better suited for bottom-six and penalty-kill minutes, though he’s only had one shot in the AHL and is just 21. He has two years remaining on his entry-level contract.
That being said, his lack of production last year does explain his drop in the rankings, as he fell 10 spots to No. 21 on our list.
Even so, for a seventh-round pick, Jones still possesses upside. If he can put it all together this year, he could turn out to be a great late-round steal for the Knights.
“My name is Ben Jones but you have to call me ‘Dragon'”
— Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) June 30, 2019