Zac Jones proving he belongs in the NHL.

One of the hardest things in sports is to be able to play at a high level when you haven’t been getting playing time. Since coming back into the Rangers lineup for the injured Jacob Trouba, Zac Jones has lifted his game to heights we haven’t seen while he’s been in the Rangers organization.

Sometimes the best trades are the ones that you don’t make and it sure seems like holding on to Zac Jones is paying dividends for Chris Drury. This is a player many thought wouldn’t be here after the trade deadline, so kudos to Drury for holding onto him.

Even though the Blueshirts have all but assured themselves a trip to the postseason this year, they still have a lot left to play for. Losing a player like Trouba, and potentially Ryan Lindgren, the Rangers will need all hands in if they want to lock up their spot atop the Eastern Conference. Zac Jones has come back into the lineup and has shined alongside Erik Gustafsson for the Blueshirts third pair.

He won’t play the big minutes that Trouba or Lindgren do, but Zac Jones is still playing valuable minutes for the club because he’s steadily becoming someone that Peter Laviolette can rely on for solid bottom pair minutes. The fact that’s been able to seamlessly come back into the lineup and contribute after not playing for a month, and playing sparingly before that, has been extremely impressive to see.

Since coming back into the lineup Jones has shown what made him successful in the AHL with Hartford. Jones is an extremely gifted skater and has the ability to be a dynamic offensive defenseman. It was never more evident than on Sunday against the Islanders when he was one of the Rangers best players on the ice.

It’s a total cliche but it’s extremely true, there always has to be a “next man up” mentality in sports especially for any championship level team. Injuries, obstacles, and road blocks will always come up on the road to a championship but having players who totally commit and buy in and are ready to play when their number is called is vital to being able to win. Zac Jones is embodying that exact philosophy and mental toughness after being inserted in such a rough situation.

If the Rangers are going to have a deep playoff run this spring that will hopefully result in a Cup parade then they’ll need every single person on their roster to buy in and play a role in becoming a Cup team. Jones coming in and being reliable will not only gain his coaches trust but will also allow guys like Trouba and Lindgren to not feel like they have to rush back and get 100% healthy and ready for a postseason push. Stick taps to Zac Jones!


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