Washington Capitals: A look back at Keith Jones

Keith Jones, Washington Capitals
Keith Jones, Washington Capitals /

Keith Jones went from a Washington Capitals draft pick to an NBC analyst.

The Washington Capitals drafted Keith Jones in the seventh round at the 141st overall pick in the 1988 NHL Draft. The right winger opted to go play hockey collegiately at Western Michigan University. After a nine-goal, 12-assist season his freshman year, Jones’ numbers spiked his next three years.

His sophomore year saw him score 19 while adding a career-high 30 goals his junior year. Jones ended his career with 56 points (25 goals, 31 assists) in 35 games his senior year. In 2013, he was inducted into the WMU Athletic Hall of Fame.

After graduation it was on to the AHL .Jones appeared in six games for the Baltimore Skipjacks, Washington’s affiliate at the time. He finally made his NHL debut in the 1992-93 season scoring 12 goals and adding 14 assists for 26 points.

Jones spoke with Bob Snow of NHL.com back in 2009 about getting drafted by Washington.

"“I think what [the Capitals] saw when I was 19 in Junior B was I went to the front of the net. I’d fall down but pick myself back up and played with a bit of an edge — went after bigger guys. A lot of times I’d end up on the wrong side of it, but would keep going. I was a fan of the NHL, but never thought I’d be playing there. I’d go to Maple Leaf Gardens and watch games, but never dreamed of playing there.”"

Jones’ added 16 goals and 19 assists for 35 points in his second season. He added 20 points (14 goals, 6 assists) in 1994-95 and had his best season in Washington during his fourth and final full year. He spent time with teammates such as recent Stanley Cup champion Craig Berube, Peter Bondra, Jim Carey, Joe Juneau, Olaf Kolzig, and Sergei Gonchar. One of his biggest influences, however, was his linemate Dale Hunter.

In the same article, Jones fondly remembered Hunter’s leadership:

"“Taught me how to play the game and prepare for the game, how to contribute in any way possible to get the team to victory, how to be a good teammate.”"

Jones played in 11 games with the Capitals until he was traded on November 2, 1996 to the Colorado Avalanche along with first rounder Scott Parker and a fourth rounder for Curtis Leachyshyn and Chris Simon.

Jones spent three seasons with the Avalanche though missing a bit of 1996-97 and most of the 1997-98 season due to a knee injury. Jones finished his five-year Capitals career with 62 goals and 65 assists (127 points) in 258 games.

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His career rounded out with the Philadelphia Flyers for three seasons before retiring in 2001. Starting in the 2005-06 season Jones has made a career in the sports broadcasting industry as an in-studio analyst for the NHL on NBC as well as a color commentator for Flyers games for NBC Sports Philadelphia.