ST. LOUIS -- For Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones, the best birthday present will come Thursday, when he steps onto the ice in an NHL game for the first time.
Jones, who turned 19 Thursday, will be in the lineup for the Predators, who open the season against the St. Louis Blues.
The No. 4 pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, who will skate alongside Mattias Ekholm, said he has envisioned this day since walking up to the podium on draft day.
"Yeah, a little bit," Jones said Thursday. "I feel really good though. It's obviously a great thing that I'm here. I'm looking to move forward every day, and it starts today.
"I know [the NHL] is going to be very intense. I got a taste in preseason and I know it's coming a little bit. You don't really know until you get out there."