Leading into the 2013 NHL Entry Draft on June 30 in Newark, N.J., nashvillepredators.com is going to provide an in-depth look at each of this year's top six prospects.
We begin with the NHL Central Scouting's top prospect, defenseman Seth Jones.
Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
6’4”, 205 lbs. • Defenseman • Shoots: Right
Born: Oct. 3, 1994
Hometown: Frisco, Texas
Ranking: No. 1 North American Skater
Prospect at-a-glance: Jones was crowned NHL Central Scouting’s top prospect for this year’s draft. The 6-3, 205-pound blueliner posted 56 points (14g-42a) for Portland of the Western Hockey League and won gold with Team USA at the World Juniors in January. Jones led the Winterhawks to the WHL’s Ed Chynoweth Cup and a slot in the 2013 Memorial Cup final.
Preds Chief Amateur Scout Jeff Kealty’s player synopsis: “He’s pretty unanimously the top prospect in the draft,” Kealty said. “He’s big, he’s an excellent skater, he’s good on his edges, he can skate the puck out of trouble and move the puck up the ice. He can get involved at both ends of the ice with the skill and ability he has. He is a terrific athlete – it’s pretty well documented that his father is “Popeye” Jones, the long time NBA player. Obviously, he has a lot of athletic ability. This is a guy that we’ve watched come through the U.S. development program and now he plays in Portland. He is a terrific player, and with the upside that he has, he is only going to get better. He is the top defenseman in the draft.”
"He is an impressive blend of size, strength, skating, skill, and an ability to dominate both offensively and physically," TSN analyst Bob McKenzie said.
“Seth is a big, rangy defenseman who has a nice command of his shifts," NHL Central Scouting’s B.J. MacDonald said. "He has the ability to be a game-changer because he has good instincts and awareness. He’s an underrated passer, possesses solid one-on-one play and can skate the puck out of danger at any time. He’s already the complete package, but I get the feeling he still has another gear to go to.”
"He can create offense, as evidenced by his 56 points in 61 regular-season games this season, his first in the Western Hockey League, and he also has been praised for his ability to consistently shut down top opposition forwards," NHL.com's Adam Kimelman said.
"Knowing Seth could be selected No. 1 shows a lot of change, and it's obviously great for the game of hockey," Montreal Canadiens defenseman P.K. Subban told NHL.com. "It's not just great for me, but great for everybody. But first and foremost, you want him to be seen as a great player and not just a black player. That's how I've gone about my career. Just kind of try and make myself the best player possible."
Something you may not know: Jones is the son of former NBA player and current Brooklyn Nets assistant coach, Ronald “Popeye” Jones. Seth’s younger brother, Caleb, will follow in big brother’s footsteps after being drafted by Portland in the 2012 WHL Bantam draft.
Comparable player(s): Scott Niedermayer (retired – Anaheim Ducks/New Jersey Devils), Rob Blake (retired – Los Angeles/Colorado)
NHL.com: From Popeye to Seth
USAToday.com: Ranking the Top 10 Defensemen
Jones’ Draft Blog on NHL.com
Jones, MacKinnon, Drouin Seek "Honor" of No. 1
Keeping up with the Joneses
Jones is the complete package
Jones, Barkov Top Central Scouting’s Final Rankings
Top 2013 Prospects Examine Their Game
Video: Preds Assistant Coach Phil Housley on Seth Jones
Video: Seth Jones One-on-One at the NHL Combine