I wrote this morning that sweeping changes are coming, and clearly this is it. Blair Jones, a center for the Tampa Bay Lightning has been acquired for Brendan Mikkelson, according to the Twitter feed of Flames head PR guy, Sean Kelso.
#49 / Center / Tampa Bay Lightning
Sep 27, 1986
|2011 - Blair Jones||2||2||4||-3||10|
Jones is a 25 year old 4th round draft pick (I'll give you one guess who picked him) who's never played beyond a depth position in the NHL. In fact, it seems like the main reason he was acquired is due to the connection he shares with Brent Sutter, who coached him for 3 years in junior with the Red Deer Rebels. Certainly the Flames need more offensive depth due to current injuries, but a player with 2-2-4 on the season is hardly the one to provide it.
Of course, that's assuming he even plays in Calgary. While he's spent most of this season with the Lightning as opposed to the Norfolk Admirals (a team I actually covered once), the player traded away, Brendan Mikkelson, was with the Abbotsford Heat, the Calgary Flames AHL affiliate. It's entirely possible that Jones is merely meant to spend time there and deepen that team, but it seems unlikely.
If he is intended for the big club, it's hard to see where he slots in. The most reasonable assumption is that he replaces Raitis Ivanans, given Jones can switch from center to wing. Of course, that begs the question why Ivanans was brought up at any point to begin with.
The news isn't all bad though: Blair Jones has some terrific underlying numbers. With a zone start ratio of 34.2 (absurdly low) his CORSI Rel is an amazing -1.8. When adjusted for those zone starts, it comes out to a Balanced CORSI Rel of 6.88, good for fifth on the team. Blair Jones will hardly turn the Flames fortunes around, but he's a decent acquisition. With Mikkelson being the only piece going the other way, there is little cause to complain, aside from the fact that this is surely not enough to fix the Flames multitudes of problems.