The Plymouth Whalers currently have ten defenders on their roster. With injuries to Alex Peters, Gianluca Curcuruto and Yannick Rathgeb the Whalers are relying on guys like Matthew Watson, Mitch Jones, Mathieu Henderson, and newly acquired Sean Callaghan.

But what happens when these players whom apart from Peters are presumed to return to the lineup within the next couple of weeks, actually do return to the lineup? You start working the phones. This will be the case with multiple players but specifically with Rochester, MI native Mitch Jones. 

The 1995 born defender has been unsettled in Plymouth for quite some time now as he had first requested a move from the Whalers at this time last season. The deadline came and went and Jones’ wish had not been fulfilled, but this time around you can add a family member to the mix.

Max Jones, the younger sibling of Whalers defender Mitch Jones was selected in the 1st round by the London Knights in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection, and while Max is yet to commit to Dale Hunter and the Knights, Mitch Jones welcomes the idea of one day playing with his younger brother at the 9,000+ capacity, Budweiser Gardens. “Preferably London if Max goes (but) if not, who knows,” Jones’ said.

Mitch is familiar with the city of London not only because of his multiple visits to Budweiser Gardens with the Whalers but also with the Senators as he was invited by the NHL club to participate among the group of Senators prospects in the rookie tournament that took place in London and featured the teams from Toronto, Pittsburgh, Chicago and Ottawa.

The one minor detail that could prove to be quite major as well is that Mitch Jones does not posses a no trade clause in his contract which means that while one would hope a players best interest would play a major role in trades, it’s not always the case. So while Jones’ wants to go to London, Whalers GM Mark Craig will be able to accept whatever offer he believes is best for his team, especially when dealing with teams who play in the same conference like the Knights and Whalers do. The Whalers in previous discussions had been seeking a pair of draft picks in return for Jones.

Next season, Jones will be an overage player (1995 birth year) and as we know teams are only allowed to carry three of these players. The Knights, while they will be losing 95′ born Max Domi and Michael McCarron to the NHL or AHL will still have Tait Seguin, Aaron Berisha, Michael Giugovaz and possibly Julius Bergman which leaves the Knights with an overage problem before Jones is even added into the mix. However, if acquiring Jones will speed up the process in getting his brother Max to report, I’m sure they will have no problem making the room for Mitch.

In fact, the Knights have been searching for a veteran presence on the blue line for quite some time now as the Knights currently have one of the youngest defense groups 2nd to only the Saginaw Spirit. Furthermore, the Knights had been involved in discussions regarding acquiring Jones’ services way back in October before the injury and suspension bugs struck the Whalers dressing room. Since then, the Whalers had taken Jones’ off the block so to speak because they needed him playing. The Knights believe acquiring Mitch Jones may speed up the process in getting their first round selection Max Jones to report and therefore perhaps 2013 4th round pick Matthew Tkachuk as Max and Matthew are good friends. The Knights are certainly open to the idea of reopening discussions about acquiring the Whalers defender.

While to fans the deadline of January 9th is fast approaching, to Mitch Jones there is still lots of time and he recognizes the Whalers current situation with injuries, “We will have to see after we get everyone back in next week or so. (There is) still a while until the deadline, just playing it by ear.”

Jones and the Whalers currently sit ninth, which is good enough for second last in the western conference with only the Windsor Spitfires behind them. While we now know Jones wants out, he’s just a small part of the Whalers plans to sell which could include guys like Victor Crus Rydberg, Alex Nedeljkovic and Matt Mistele.

Assuming Max Jones commits to the Knights, the only question remaining pertaining to Mitch Jones is whether he will be playing with or against his brother.

  1. Danger Girl says:

    I’ll be surprised if he gets traded, the Whalers will still need him. Curcuruto may be coming back soon, but provides zero toughness (despite his suspension for bad checks earlier in the season, he had 16 penalty minutes all of last season. In 57 games. In a league where just about any contact can be called a penalty). Rathgeb will help, assuming his noggin is better, but he wont be returning until after WJC at the earliest. Callaghan is a big boost. I can’t comment on Watson, I haven’t seen him play enough to say anything one way or the other. Except the fact that he hasn’t been playing may speak for itself, unless he has secretly been injured. He hasn’t been listed with the injured. He’s been glued to the bench. Henderson seems to have taken a step backward this year. Jones can eat minutes, and though he leads the league in penalty minutes, he’s been pretty good lately about not going to the box alone. And he provides toughness.

    So does a team with the 2nd worst PK in the league trade one of its best penalty killers to help a conference rival land his brother (who should be a star in this league)? Especially after it’s become well known that he was denied the trade he requested last year when the team was stronger on the blue line? My money’s on no.


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