For this series, I’ve taken a list of every Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick, excluding the expansion draft, and put it into a random name picker. Also excluded are any Steve Yzerman era picks so the players eligible are BY. That’s Before Yzerman.
Now that the names are in the list, let’s spin the wheel and pick our random Tampa Bay Lightning draft pick.
And the selected player is...
Drafted in the fourth round, 102nd overall in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Blair Jones is still making a living as a hockey player. A forward with size in his game, he was taken in the draft out of the WHL after playing with the Red Deer Rebels and Moose Jaw Warriors. Splitting the season prior to his draft with both teams, he had 14 goals and 36 assists for 50 points over 68 games and added another seven points in five playoff games.
The Lightning acquired the draft pick used to take Blair Jones by trading a 2006 second-round pick that was eventually used to pick Shawn Matthias (540 GP, 173 points) to the Philadelphia Flyers in exchange for a 2005 third and fourth round pick. The 2005 third round pick was used on Chris Lawrence. He only played 181 AHL games and 151 ECHL games before moving to England and making a nice career for himself in the EIHL.
Owing to Jones’ September birth date, Jones only needed another year of seasoning in the WHL before making his professional debut. He picked up his scoring pace and put up 35 goals and 85 points in 72 games for Moose Jaw. He had another 21 points in 22 games in the playoffs as Moose Jaw fell short of the WHL championship.
In 2006-07, Jones was sent to the AHL Springfield Falcons at the start of the season, but was called up three different times during the season and was with the team from January 29th to the end of the season. He played in 45 games for the Falcons putting up five goals and 21 points. He drew into 20 games for the Lightning and had a goal and three points in 20 games while averaging 5:46 in TOI.
Jones spent more time in the AHL in 2007-08 and 2008-09 and only got into four games in the NHL during the 2007-08 seasons where he averaged a staggering 1:55 TOI. (psst. I don’t think Torts liked him.)
He had success in the AHL in those two seasons with 14 and 20 goal seasons and hitting 42 and 54 points respectively. 2009-10 again saw him splitting time between the NHL and AHL with 14 NHL games and 63 AHL games. With Torts gone, he got a little more playing time averaging 12:50 per game.
2010-11 and 2011-12 again saw Jones splitting time between the NHL and AHL and he even playing in seven playoff games for the Lightning in 2010-11 on their way to the Eastern Conference Finals. His NHL production though never came close to living up to the potential he had shown in juniors and the AHL. In the middle of the 2011-12 season, he was traded to the Calgary Flames for defenseman Brendan Mikkelson.
Jones spent parts of three seasons with Calgary spliutting time between the NHL and their AHL affiliate the Abbotsford Heat. Following the 2013-14 season, Jones was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers playing four games for them in 2014-15, his last in the NHL, and the rest of the season in the AHL. He split 2015-16 between the Utica Comets and the Charlotte Checkers.
Given the choice between giving Europe a go and staying in the AHL, Jones decided to try his hand in a European league signing with the Iserlohn Roosters in the German DEL. He remained in the DEL for the 2017-18 season signing with Kolner Haie. He is currently out of the line-up with a concussion.