by Forechecker on 10/08/08 at 06:06 PM ET
It was prudent to save Ryan Jones for the end of these forecasts, as the rookie was no sure thing to make the Nashville Predators roster straight out of training camp. With the reassignment of Josh Gratton and today’s demotion of Antti Pihlstrom, Jones has indeed earned a spot at the NHL level for the time being (here’s the Opening Roster). That’s no small achievement in an organization that usually prefers to have young players adapt to professional hockey at the AHL level before skating with the big club.
For those who may not be familiar with his resume, Jones most recently played college hockey at Miami of Ohio, where he was team captain and a finalist for the 2008 Hobey Baker Award. A gritty, powerful forward with a penchant for winning the battles around the crease and in the corner, his biggest challenge at the NHL level is likely to be dealing with the increase in speed.
As with my forecast for Patric Hornqvist, I think it’s useful here to leverage Gabe Desjardin’s notion of League Equivalencies. By looking at the Points Per Game figures for 93 players who stepped up from the NCAA to the NHL, Desjardins found that their PPG figures dropped by a factor of 0.33; that would imply that his PPG rate of 1.17 for Miami (31G, 18A in 42 games) should drop to somewhere around 0.4 PPG in the NHL this year, roughly 32 points over an 82-game season.
If Jones indeeds nets 30 points, I’d guess the Predators brain trust will consider that a successful rookie campaign. One should also keep in mind that while he was the driving force for the Redhawks of Miami, in Nashville he will most likely play on the third line, with perhaps some power play duty on the second unit. Don’t be surprised to see him fill in alongside Jason Arnott or David Legwand should injuries open up opportunities on the top two lines, either.
So, for the official Forechecker’s Forecast…
|Forechecker’s Forecast, 2008-9 NHL Regular Season|
SPECIAL NOTE: It looks like the Predators will have a stronger radio presence this season; follow that link to see a listing of regular shows including new entries such as Thom Abraham of 106.7 FM with a weekly player show Mondays from 5-6 p.m, and HockeyBuzz Radio (with Paul McCann and Brandon Felder) also on Mondays but from 6-7 p.m., on 560 AM WNSR.
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