TORONTO – In the last year of his contract, David Jones knew he’d likely be traded the day after the 28th-place Calgary Flames left Sunday for a four-game road trip.
“So I took a pretty big bag,” Jones said.
Knowing he’d be unable to return to Calgary to get his stuff, Jones brought a bunch of clothes and suits to get by for awhile.
“The toughest thing was not really knowing what to pack because there are a bunch of playoff teams in warm weather climates. So I packed a little bit of both — warm weather and cold weather, like sandals and big boots,” Jones said, laughing.
Jones, 31, made his Wild debut Thursday against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the right side of Thomas Vanek and Mikael Granlund.
“I get to play with two real good players,” said Jones, a straightaway, checking winger, before the game. “Hopefully I can complement those guys. They’re both real skilled players, and I’ll do my best to create loose pucks for them and try to find those guys.”
Jones is excited for his new lease on life. So is his 3-year-old son, Ronan. Jones’ wife, Kim, sent her husband a video of Ronan saying, “Let’s go Wild! Yeah, yeah, yeah, we like the Wild.” Jones posted it to his Twitter account, @djones5454, and the cute clip was picked up by media outlets throughout Canada.
“I had to do some cropping though. The first 10 seconds was him giving the Flames the business,” Jones said, laughing. “The situation in Calgary, it’s a great group of guys there, but things didn’t go the way they wanted this year. For me, I just want to get back to the playoffs and play for that Cup. It’s a great opportunity.”
Penalty kill problems
Defenseman Jonas Brodin, who broke a foot Feb. 4, returned after missing 13 games. Coach John Torchetti hopes Brodin’s presence will help cure the Wild’s sickly penalty kill.
Before Thursday’s game, the Wild’s penalty kill had been scored against six times in the past 11 chances over the previous five games, and on 14 of 44 chances over 13 games.
“It’s definitely an area we have to improve upon if we’re going to make the playoffs,” said Torchetti, unhappy with “almost identical goals” recently by Alex Ovechkin and Jarome Iginla.
Defenseman Jared Spurgeon said, “When you get scored on, sometimes you sag back and that’s the worst thing you can do. We still have to be aggressive and get on them so they can’t set up and get those open looks.”
Three get no Cup call
Brodin (Sweden) was one of three Wild players under consideration who didn’t make preliminary rosters for World Cup contenders Wednesday. Nino Niederreiter (Team Europe) and Erik Haula (Finland) were the others.
Brodin said he wasn’t surprised to not make Sweden’s list. “We have a pretty good D corps and a sick team,” he said.
Full rosters must be filled out by June 1 and Brodin hopes to be in the mix for Sweden’s final defenseman spot. He’s likely up against Dallas’ John Klingberg and Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm.
Brodin was excited to still be with the Wild after two months of trade rumors heading into Monday’s deadline.
“I tried not to think about it,” he said. “There’s not much you can do.”
• Winger Jason Zucker missed his sixth game because of a concussion. He skated hard after Thursday’s morning skate and is a possibility to return Saturday in Buffalo. “We have to be smart,” GM Chuck Fletcher said.
• Defenseman Nate Prosser (ill) and left winger Ryan Carter were scratched.