Gulls Get Talented Reinforcement

First round draft pick of the Ducks joins San Diego for playoff run

In 2016 the Anaheim Ducks made Max Jones their first round NHL Draft pick. Reading scouting reports on him one word was consistently used: Physical.

Jones is a really good skater who can put the puck in the net. He’s also a big guy at 6-foot-2 and 203 pounds. But the 19-year-old also has a nasty streak. In the last two seasons with the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League he has been suspended for 12 games and 10 games for excessive physicality.

The Ducks were not scared away by a guy who admittedly plays on the edge and aside from the two suspensions Jones has kept himself under control. After London’s playoff run ended in the 2nd round the Ducks decided to get Jones some more post-season experience so they sent him to San Diego and the Calder Cup Playoffs. Jones made his professional debut in Game 2 and immediately got on the ice.

“Being down 1-0 in the series and getting tossed into Game 2 was a huge thing, so I just wanted to go out and play my game and do what I do best,” said Jones, who scored seven goals in 14 playoffs games with London. He did not earn a point in the Gulls’ Game 2 win over the Reign but he also drew positive reviews from his coaching staff for the way he handled himself. Obviously this whole “playoffs” thing is not going to be too big for Jones.

“My mom was a big time diver, she was a NCAA champion and stuff at the University of Michigan, so she taught me how to put myself kind of on autopilot and just kind of stay focused and play my game and do the things I do well and not let everything, the uncontrollables, let those get to you,” said Jones of his pro debut. “So it was pretty much just focusing on what I can control and that was my game. I was focused on that and I think I played a pretty good game there.”

The Gulls got a player who is not afraid to mix it up in front of the net. Jones is often compared to Ducks star Corey Perry. He could be the difference maker as the Gulls chase an American Hockey League championship.

The schedule had a quirk where there are six days off between Game 2 and Game 3. That means Jones is getting ample time to acclimate to his new environment.

“That’s kind of weird,” said Jones of the scheduling quirk. “I think it’s useful for me in terms of just getting used to the system. That was a big part, just thinking about where I was on the ice in terms of systems. This whole week just being able to get used to the systems and stuff, getting used to the guys and making some relationships helps me a lot focusing on myself and my game.”

Jones will get to play his first professional home game in front of what’s expected to be at least 10,000 fans at Valley View Casino Center on Friday night.

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