Welcome to NHL Opening Day! While the NHL sets to kick off this evening with a slate that doesn’t feature the Colorado Avalanche, they decided to make a little splash ahead of the action by acquiring defenseman Caleb Jones from the Carolina Hurricanes, in exchange for Colorado Eagles forward Callahan Burke. According to a press release from the Avs, both players will continue to play for the time being. This is because the Hurricanes' former AHL affiliate Chicago Wolves decided to go independent as a club.
We have acquired Caleb Jones from the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for Cal Burke.— Colorado Avalanche (@Avalanche) October 10, 2023
Both players will continue to play for the Colorado Eagles. pic.twitter.com/mUHEXF3QQL
Jones, 26, is the younger brother of Chicago Blackhawks defenseman Seth Jones, and son of current Denver Nuggets Assistant coach Popeye Jones. Caleb was conveniently sent down to the Colorado Eagles by Carolina, making this trade that much more interesting. He’s entering his sixth NHL season, after splitting his first five with the Edmonton Oilers (three seasons) and Blackhawks (two seasons), playing in 217 games in that span.
Burke, 26, has spent the last three seasons as part of the Colorado Eagles after signing as an undrafted college free agent out of Notre Dame. He appeared in two NHL games for the injury-riddled Avalanche last season but didn’t register a point.
While Caleb will begin with the Eagles, don’t be fooled here, the Avs are getting a solid bottom-pairing puck-moving defenseman. The Hurricanes signed Jones to a one-year contract worth $800K in August, which at the time was a head-scratcher for a team already so deep defensively. Playing with Seth and the Chicago Blackhawks in an elevated role last season, Jones returned solid metrics at 5-on-5, which was hard to come by for an abysmal Blackhawks team. In 73 games, Caleb scored four goals and added 12 assists for 16 points, and was a -19 in the process, but again, in an elevated role.
Caleb Jones, signed 1x$0.8M by CAR, is a defencemen who put up pretty solid results in second-pair minutes on an awful Hawks team. Not sure I buy the big surge in offence-driving last season and he's a bit error-prone, but should be a useful blueliner. #LetsGoCanes pic.twitter.com/R4dnB6OkTt— JFresh (@JFreshHockey) August 10, 2023
Jones will need some time to adjust to Colorado’s system, but there’s no doubt in my mind that we’ll see a healthy amount of Caleb with the Avs this season. He should be primed for the seventh defenseman role once he’s acclimated, which will bump the likes of Brad Hunt, Kurtis MacDermid, and Sam Malinski down the depth chart. Additionally, this swap has no implication on the Avs salary cap, and Jones does not require waivers as he’s already currently in the AHL.