The Nashville Predators announced the signing of defenseman Seth Jones to his entry level contract this afternoon, in an event at Centennial Sportsplex after this morning's session at Development Camp. It looks like Jones will indeed wear the #3 as a Nashville Predator, which hasn't seen the light of day since the retirement of the late Wade Belak in 2011.
You can watch the contract signing right here:
I haven't seen David Poile so happy since Matt Halischuk's overtime goal in Vancouver a couple years ago...
As for Jones, you have to say so far, so good. For an 18-year-old he's very well-spoken and composed, and you can see that he genuinely interacts with the media, listening to questions and answering in a thoughtful manner (i.e., not robotic cliche-speak).
From the Predators' press release:
Nashville Predators President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile announced today that the club has signed defenseman Seth Jones, the fourth overall selection in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, to a three-year entry-level contract. The base salary of the contract is $925,000, with maximum rookie contract signing bonuses giving him a salary cap number of $3.225 million.
"Seth is a special prospect and we were fortunate to be in position to select him," Poile said. "As a player, he brings so much to our organization, from size you can't teach to a skill set that every team hopes to add and a personality and maturity that will allow him to grow and develop with our veteran core and other young players. He has excelled at the junior and international levels and we anticipate him enjoying great success at the NHL level."
Jones, (10/3/94), was ranked the No. 1 North American skater by NHL Central Scouting after finishing the 2012-13 season with 14 goals and 42 assists for 56 points to go with a +46 rating in 61 games as Portland posted its best regular-season record in franchise history. That point total led all WHL rookie blueliners. He added another five goals and 15 points in 21 WHL playoff games as the Winterhawks captured the 2013 WHL Championship. Jones, who won the Jim Piggott Trophy as the WHL's Rookie of the Year, played alongside current Preds prospect Brendan Leipsic during the 2012-13 season.
"I'm excited to be one step closer to realizing the dream of playing in the NHL, especially with a world-class organization like the Nashville Predators," Jones said. "Since being drafted by the Predators and coming to development camp, I'm certain this is the right spot and right organization for me. I can't wait for the opportunity to learn from and play with world class players like Shea Weber and Pekka Rinne and other veteran players who will help me in my development on and off the ice."
Internationally, Jones served as alternate captain of Team USA at the 2013 World Junior Championships, and helped lead the Americans, who were coached by Preds assistant coach Phil Housley, to the gold medal after posting seven points (1g-6a) and a +8 rating in seven tournament games. In 2012, he captained the Under-18 team to gold at the World Championship, finishing second in team scoring with eight points (3g-5a). He also claimed gold at the World Under-18 Championships in 2011.