Ryan Jones has never taken his days in the NHL for granted.

The Edmonton Oilers winger put in plenty of time and effort making it to the league and having lost his job at the beginning of the season, is determined to make the most of his second opportunity.

Jones, 29, is back in the Oilers lineup after a stint with the Oklahoma City Barons and played his first home game of the season Thursday, suiting up against the Washington Capitals.

“I don’t think it’s a secret, I know what I need to do to stay up here,” Jones said prior to the game. “(Head coach Dallas Eakins) knows that I know that and I don’t think we have to have an extended conversation about it.”

Having been plucked off the waiver wire during the 2009-2010 season from the Nashville Predators, Jones endeared himself to the Oilers and their fans with his work ethic and his outgoing personality. He had his best two seasons as a professional with the Oilers, collecting 18 and 17 goals, respectively.

An eye injury suffered during the lockout, however, set him back and he’s been trying to find his game since.

“Everybody relates things to a couple of years ago,” Jones said. “I had two good years, but to be honest, I’ve been the same hockey player since I came into the NHL. I haven’t changed much.

“Everyone uses this eye as an excuse for me and it’s not, it doesn’t change anything, the only thing that changed was the time that I missed. That was hard to come back from.”

Jones did return last season and got into 27 games, scoring two goals and adding five assists.