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At the Rink: Blue Jackets at Hurricanes

by Kurt Dusterberg

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Defenseman Seth Jones will make his Columbus Blue Jackets debut against the Carolina Hurricanes on Friday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-CR).

"Everything happens for a reason," said Jones, who stayed off the ice during the Blue Jackets' optional morning skate. "It's a new opportunity and a new chapter in my young [three-season NHL] career. I'm very happy with what's happened."

Jones, acquired from the Nashville Predators for center Ryan Johansen on Wednesday, will be paired with Ryan Murray. He will have to adjust to the zone defensive coverage favored by the Blue Jackets after playing in the Predators' man-to-man scheme.

"[Murray] has been talking with me the past couple days about communicating," Jones said. "I told him to direct me and push me where you need me to go."

Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella said his team plays a different style in the neutral zone as well, but he wasn't worried about Jones making the adjustment.

"It's a pretty good difference, but the amount of space he takes up with that wing span of his, he's going to be in the way," Tortorella said. "He may have a couple misreads here and there, but he has a good stick and you can see he's a bright player. He's going to be just fine."

Tortorella said he noticed an immediate difference in his players' on-ice demeanor with Jones at practice Thursday.

"It's as live as I've seen our team in a while here," Tortorella said. "The room has been good. But yesterday was at a different level I think."

Jones, the fourth pick of the 2013 NHL Draft, had one goal and 10 assists in 40 games for Nashville this season. He didn't expect to be traded but said he accepts changing teams is part of the game.

"It doesn't rattle me," he said. "My emotions have been flying around the past couple days but I'm really excited to get the games going."

After the trade Jones spoke to his father, Popeye Jones, an 11-year NBA veteran who played seven stints with six teams.

"He just said to keep your head up and keep moving forward. He got traded maybe five times. I've got a little ways to catch him," the younger Jones said, before smiling and adding, "Hopefully I don't."

To replace Johansen in the lineup the Blue Jackets recalled forward Josh Anderson from Lake Erie of the American Hockey League. He had two assists in a previous three-game stint with the Blue Jackets this season.

Carolina will try to end a three-game losing streak (0-2-1). Forward Victor Rask, who left the game against the Vancouver Canucks on Wednesday because of an upper-body injury, took the morning skate but will be a game-time decision.

Hurricanes coach Bill Peters said he expects the Blue Jackets to get an immediate boost from the acquisition of Jones.

"It's very impactful for sure," Peters said. "He's a very good player. I like their defensive core. It really sets them up well."

Here are the projected lineups:


Boone Jenner - Brandon Dubinsky - Cam Atkinson

Scott Hartnell - Alexander Wennberg - Brandon Saad

Nick Foligno - William Karlsson - Josh Anderson

Rene Bourque - Gregory Campbell - Jared Boll

Ryan Murray - Seth Jones

Jack Johnson - David Savard

Fedor Tyutin - Cody Goloubef

Anton Forsberg

Joonas Korpisalo

Injured: Markus Hannikainen (shoulder), Matt Calvert (knee), Sergei Bobrovsky (groin), David Clarkson (upper body), Curtis McElhinney (ankle)

Scratched: Dalton Prout, Justin Falk


Eric Staal - Jordan Staal - Kris Versteeg

Joakim Nordstrom - Victor Rask - Elias Lindholm

Jeff Skinner - Riley Nash - Chris Terry

Brad Malone - Jay McClement - Andrej Nestrasil

Ron Hainsey - Justin Faulk

John-Michael Liles - Brett Pesce

Noah Hanifin - Jaccob Slavin

Cam Ward

Eddie Lack

Injured: James Wisniewski (knee), Nathan Gerbe (ankle), Phillip Di Giuseppe (concussion)

Scratched: Brock McGinn, Michal Jordan

Status report: Gerbe, who has missed 21 games, is targeting the middle of January for his return.

Who's hot: Atkinson has two goals and two assists during a four-game point streak. … Dubinsky has four assists in three games. … Saad has four goals in three games. … Jordan Staal had a goal and an assist against Vancouver.

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