David Jones is a 23-year-old Colorado Avalanche prospect poised to make the team’s NHL roster out of training camp later this year. He already has 37 games with the Avalanche under his belt, including playoff experience.
At 6’2, 220lbs, he is a powerful force on the ice and is not afraid to use size to his advantage.
Hockey’s Future caught up with the power forward during Colorado’s prospect development camp.
HF: So, with NHL regular season and playoff experience now, do you sort of feel like a veteran at a camp like this?
DJ: I wouldn’t say a veteran. I have been to this a few years before but I wouldn’t say a veteran by any means. I definitely know what this camp is all about but there are still things I need to work on.
HF: With the trade of Brad Richardson, you’re the only player left from Colorado’s 2003 draft year with NHL experience. What do you think that says about your dedication as a player, given you were their ninth-round selection?
DJ: I was more excited when I got drafted about going to school at Dartmouth. I only played half the season during my draft year. I didn’t really expect to get drafted at all. Then I came back the next year and had a great year…ended up fighting with Travis Zajac for the points race (in BCHL). Maybe I would have been drafted higher then but I don’t worry about it. It’s just more of a fun story to think about.
HF: You played every game for Colorado during the 10-game playoff run last season. What did you learn during hockey’s toughest time of the year?
DJ: It was an unbelievable experience. It just shows you that you feel like you can really make an impact. A lot of times the first two lines will sort of get shut down, then the third and fourth lines will have to step up. That can determine the outcome of the game. It was just a great experience.
HF: The Colorado locker room is filled with future hall of fame players. Who do you look up to the most and what have they taught you about being an NHL player?
DJ: I’d have to say all of them, Joe (Sakic), Smitty (Ryan Smyth), (Adam) Foote. They’ve all been just so humble and been so good to me, welcoming me. It’s just something that they don’t have to be that way —they’re superstars — and yet they are all great to the younger guys and help us out a lot.
HF: You split your season between Colorado and Lake Erie last year. What will be different about your performance in training camp this year that will help you win a roster spot for opening night?
DJ: I’m really not trying to change too much. I had a good camp last year. Unfortunately I got hurt after playing one exhibition game. They sent me down. I just think there wasn’t a spot. I didn’t beat out a guy for a spot. So just come back —- I was in good shape last year —- and just come back the same way and try to do the same things.
HF: What sort of role do you see yourself filling for the rest of your career and what do you need to improve on to help you get there?
DJ: I like to think of myself as a power forward. Good skater, drive the puck to the net and hopefully bury it. I haven’t quite yet (scored goals in the NHL). But at every level of my career, it’s taken me about a year to start scoring…whether college or junior. The chances will come —- I got quite a few (chances) last year.
HF: Everyone knows professional athletes need to eat well and stay in great shape, but what is your vice? What is it that you love to eat but you know definitely isn’t a part of a perfectly balanced diet?
DJ: I’d say ice cream.
HF: Finally, would you take more pride in scoring the game-winning goal, making a beautiful pass to setup the game winning goal, or making the perfect defensive play to preserve a one-goal lead late in the third period?
DJ: You know, they are all really important. But I might have to be selfish and say scoring the game-winning goal. Scoring the game-winning goal would be really nice.