Seth Jones seems to have set a precedent for the NHL Entry Draft when he fell from his position as the number one prospect in 2013, being picked up 4th overall by the Nashville Predators. The six foot four defenseman had been ranked the top North American Skater by Central Scouting, and the top pick by the International Scouting Services. His junior numbers weren’t deceiving, though; he looks to be a great start to a seemingly promising future Nashville team.
Born in Arlington, Texas, Seth is the middle son of NBA player Ronald “popeye”Jones. He and his older brother Justin took skating lessons from both hockey and figure skaters for years before joining hockey teams, and it shows in his athleticism and agility on the ice. He made it to the Memorial Cup Finals with the Portland Winterhawks in 2013, scoring a goal in the 6-4 loss against the Halifax Mooseheads; incidentally, two of the Mooseheads players- Nathan MacKinnonand Jonathan Drouin- would be drafted almost directly before him. He also won two gold medals for the US at the IIHF World U18 Championships; as a blue liner, Jones had three assists in six games.
He eventually fell from his first overall draft pick projection to fourth when the Colorado Avalanche announced at the draft that they intended on drafting a forward instead. Nashville picked him up, though, and signed him to a three-year entry level contract for a little under ten million.
The 2013-2014 Season:
Seth Jones played his first NHL game with the Predators on October 3, 2013; nine days later, he scored his first NHL goal in a match against the New York Islanders. He went on to play in 77 of the season’s 82 games, racking in six goals and nineteen assists from the blue line for a total of twenty-five points in the regular season. The Predators failed to make the playoffs, though, and he ended his rookie season with a 7-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on April 21, 2014.
Thoughts On Next Season:
The Predators failed to make the playoffs in the 2013-2014 season for a number of reasons. They’re still in a developing phase, and they lack the kind of offensive scoring power they need to compete with the teams in the Western Conference that are guaranteed playoff sports. Jones is a step in the right direction for a young, hungry Nashville team- not only is he quick on his feet, he’s able to score goals when he needs to, and he’s a great asset on the ice for both his offensive teammates and his fellow D-men. With a full rookie season now under his belt, I expect to see him explode even more next season. He knows what to expect in the majors, and he’s proven he can hold his own- I don’t predict Nashville will be a Cup contender in 2014, but I can’t say the same for two or three seasons down the road.
Seth Jones had the kind of defining presence one doesn’t usually see from players his age in his position. His talents are comparable to those of guys with eight or nine years in the league on him- definitely a defenseman to keep your eye on.