The warning light goes on at pick #18 in our draft previews: Max Jones, LW for the London Knights in the OHL.
Max Jones is an offensive force in the classic power forward mold. He’s 6’3″, 205 lbs. and has incredible first step acceleration and top end speed. He’s a bruiser and a banger, but also has a knack for moving to open space. Jones has lightning-quick hands, great stickwork, and an accurate wrister. He busts his tail every shift and plays with a lot of will and determination. All of this added up to 52 points in 63 games in the OHL this season.
It also added up to 106 penalty minutes and more. Jones has a well-earned reputation for liking the rough stuff a bit too much. In addition to all the penalty minutes, he was suspended two games last October for a slew foot, then followed it up with this hit on Jacob Harris of the Guelph Storm:
Amazingly, Jones wasn’t suspended for that hit. But then there was this hit on Justin Brack:
Yeeeesh. That one earned Jones a 12-game suspension. He still came back in time to help the London Knights win the Memorial Cup.
Whichever team drafts Max Jones will get game-breaking scoring talent and a game-altering physical presence. They’ll also get a player who will find himself in the penalty box and in hot water with the Department of Player Safety at an uncomfortable rate. If that team can hone that edge to his play and get him to play a much smarter and disciplined physical game, they’ll have a gem of a player.
Props to bigwhite06 of YouTube who’s done great work with draft prospect previews. You can check out more of their prospect videos here.