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Jones Has High Expectations

by Ashley Partenza / Florida Panthers
Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones skates up the ice during a WHL game.

Ranked No. 1 among all potential draft picks in the upcoming draft, Seth Jones has gotten used to the questions.

The attention from the scouts and management from teams just kept rolling in for the Portland Winterhawks (WHL) defenseman during the NHL Combine in Toronto in late May. He went through and experienced 17 different interviews for the upcoming 2013 NHL Draft.

Jones shared with the Toronto media that the combine was a lot of fun for him and he enjoyed meeting with the different teams and all the scouts that he had been watching and following all year while getting a chance to go through the interview process.

Although the young prospect had excelled this past season, registering 56 points in 61 games for the Winterhawks and is ranked as the No. 1 prospect for the draft by Central Scouting, Jones had concerns that he was not as well prepared for the physical test on day 2 of the combine like the other prospects were. With that, he decided to not go through the physical tests.

“I didn’t really have time to train or do anything for this,” said Jones. “My body is still worn down. I’ve been nursing a couple injuries all year. I didn’t think I was well prepared.”

Coming off a Memorial Cup run that ended coming up short as Portland fell to the Halifax Mooseheads and the No. 2 and No. 3 ranked North American skaters Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, Jones knows that he’ll have plenty of time to prepare for the upcoming season now that his season is over.

“The offseason is the time to train and develop and during the season is when you want to focus a little more on hockey,” said Jones.

Looking past the combine, despite being ranked No. 1, Jones is always looking to prove himself to others.

The 18-year old comes from a very athletic background which means he’ll look to get better both in the short term and the long term. His father, Popeye Jones played in the NBA for 11 years and is an assistant coach for the Brooklyn Nets.

Jones’ parents are huge supporters and so are his two brothers. Though Jones and his brothers come from NBA DNA, all three brothers share a love for hockey and for the potential top pick, the draft on Sunday at the Prudential Center will be a special family affair.

“New Jersey. I am really looking forward to that,” said Jones. “I was able to go last year (to the draft) and experience it a little, but my family will be here this year so I get to share it with them.”

Being the No. 1 pick for the 2013 NHL Draft would be very special for Jones. He has had high goals going into the sport and has always worked towards being his best, but this talented prospect stays open minded and is going to focus on himself no matter where he ends up for the pick.

“No one knows what the teams are thinking,” said Jones. “No one knows what the teams need.”

He knows just as much as his fans when it comes to the final pick and he is going to focus on what he can control, and that’s the chance to start his NHL career as soon as possible.

“I just want to play in the NHL, that’s all,” said Jones. “That it, I just want to make a team next year.”

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