After the Florida Panthers took Aleksander Barkov 2nd overall, and the Tampa Bay Lightning went with Jonathan Drouin, stud defense prospect Seth Jones was sitting right there for the Nashville Predators, who stepped right up to pick him.
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Yes, he has the potential to be an excellent NHL defenseman. As a right-handed shot, however, he steps into the one area of the depth chart where the Predators are actually set up rather nicely. Perhaps as Jones develops into NHL-readiness, he can force the team's hand to send either Kevin Klein or Ryan Ellis packing.
Here's Jones calling in to talk with Pete Weber, Tom Callahan, Brent Peterson and Stu Grimson at the Preds' draft party immediately after getting picked:
From the Cannon's preview of Jones:
Seth Jones is a rare prospect. He is the son of a former NBA basketball player [Popeye Jones] and as such was blessed with an insanely large frame. But, on top of that, he's also athletic as hell, thanks in part to the smartness of his father. Jones started playing hockey while his father was playing for the Denver Nuggets, and through that connection his father was able to chat up Joe Sakic about how best to get his son improved with hockey. Not a bad start, eh? Jones followed that up with figure skating lessons, and that helped form the foundation for his hockey abilities.
In addition, here's a personal portrait of Jones from Denver's Adrian Dater:
The fact Jones learned to skate at age 5, from a figure skating coach in Denver named Tracy Jackson, seems easy to discern after the first couple of looks at Jones on the ice. His skating, scouts say, is what sets him apart from others in his age group.
Jones moves with equal ease and agility skating backward and forward, crisscrossing his feet like that of a figure skater when backing up on plays, yet almost always keeping the puck in front of him. Then, add in his size and strength. Then, add in his hockey sense. Finally, you have, as his former U.S. world junior team coach Phil Housley called him after Jones captained the team to a gold medal, a "complete-package defenseman."
Now, we wait until the 3rd round for the next Nashville selection... unless of course they work out a trade to move up. Despite lots of talk this weekend, there has only been one deal so far, with Pittsburgh sending Tyler Kennedy to the San Jose Sharks for a 2nd-round pick.
Take a look at Jones' highlights for the recent World Junior Championships....