Seth Jones, a 17-year-old defenseman considered one of the top prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft, on Monday had his Western Hockey League rights traded by the Everett Silvertips to the Portland Winterhawks in exchange for an undisclosed conditional draft pick.
Jones was captain of the U.S. team that on Sunday captured a fourth-straight gold medal at the World Under-18 Championship. He had three goals and five assists in six games, finishing second on the team and among all defensemen at the tournament with eight points. He also was on last year's team as a 16-year-old, contributing three assists to the 2011 gold-medal effort.
"Seth is a world-class player in his age group, a terrific two-way defenseman who's excelled at every level," Portland GM/coach Mike Johnston told the team's website. "By not committing to a college at this point, he has decided to keep his options open, and we look forward to meeting with Seth and his family soon to discuss his future. We believe he would be an impact player in the Western Hockey League."
Jones (6-foot-4, 205 pounds) spent this past season with the U.S. National Team Development Program Under-18 team, where he had six goals and 20 assists in 48 games. He also was in line to play for the U.S. at the World Junior Championship, but an upper-body injury he sustained in a pre-tournament exhibition knocked him out.
Everett had selected Jones with the 11th pick of the 2009 WHL bantam draft.
Jones has yet to make a decision on his future plans, which could include the USHL -- the Waterloo Black Hawks own his rights in that league -- the WHL or the NCAA route. Jones' father, former NBA player and current New Jersey Nets assistant coach Ronald "Popeye" Jones, told NHL.com in August that he and Seth's mother would allow their son to make the final decision on his playing future.
"Do I want him to get an education, whether he plays college hockey or not? Absolutely," Popeye Jones said. "But you can get a college education now and not go on a college campus the way they have things set up, through the Internet, correspondence courses. … We feel he's mature enough to make his own decision."
Portland has become a major producer of NHL talent in recent seasons, producing two first-round picks in each of the last two drafts.
Contact Adam Kimelman at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK