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Is it time for the Edmonton Oilers to call up Caleb Jones?

The young defenceman, now in his third-year in the American Hockey League, is starting a make a case for playing NHL minutes.

Drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, it was known he would be a long-term project, as many are drafted in later rounds.

And after a great draft+1 and 2 years that saw him pile up 55 and 62 point seasons, Jones made his way to Bakersfield. As a rookie defenceman there, he scored 17 points in 58 games.

Last year, he tallied a solid 29 points in 50 games. But this year, his production has continued on a great path notching 10 points in 13 games this season.

This year’s point totals land him tied for third in league scoring amongst defenceman.

His strong play early this season as a puck-moving, offensive left-shot defenceman has been nothing short of impressive and it begins to beg the question of when he should see NHL time.

Jones got a good taste of NHL action last year playing in 17 games for the Oilers where he scored one goal adding four assists — two of which being primary.

While his offensive numbers were good for the short time he played, his defensive numbers were… not great. At even-strength, he was outscored 12-21 with an expected goals for of 43.95 per cent. His low-PDO of 95.8 and on-ice save per centage of 86.71 tells me there was some bad luck involved in his goal numbers.

He posted a 48.35 CF% with a most common partner of Adam Larsson — someone who dragged him down on the ice. Together, they posted a CF% of 43.55, but away from Larsson, Jones posted a 52.35 CF%.

Now if the Oilers were to recall him, there’s a good chance he would be looking at taking the spot of Kris Russell, someone who has quietly been having an okay season for the Oilers (but more on that later).

His best partner as a defenceman, based off his brief time last year, would likely be Matt Benning. On paper the pair look good together — Jones is an offensive-minded puck-mover, while Benning is a bit better situation taking care of his own zone. Together last year, they posted a 56.72 (!) CF% together playing about 40 minutes on the ice at even-strength while being outscored 3-4.

So in theory, Jones has likely paid his dues and could very well be of earning some NHL time.

But does it make sense right now? As I mentioned before, Jones would likely be taking the place of Russell on the back-end.

While Russell’s shot numbers are less than good (45 CF% at even-strength), the team has done a very good job of not getting scored on while he’s on the ice. At even-strength, he’s posted a 66.67 GF% — second on the team to his defensive partner Matt Benning’s 76.47.

I think no matter how you begin to look at it, giving Caleb Jones his time in Edmonton is likely the best move for the future of the team and the player.

Russell is not a good defenceman and his possession and goal numbers plummet when you account for all situations.

With Jones, the team would get a young player in their lineup who is determined to show his willingness to stick around. It’s a move for the future of the team knowing he will be a top-six guy next year.

Why not expedite that process and get Jones in Edmonton?

On Twitter: @zjlaing