TSN’s Craig Button, NHL Central Scouting, The Hockey News and McKeen’s Hockey ranked Jones as the best prospect in the entire class, according to TSN. Even more beneficial for the Predators—and terrifying for the Western Conference—is that Jones now has a chip on his shoulder after his slide, according to Yahoo! Sports’ Greg Wyshynski.
Here is Jones in a Nashville jersey thanks to USA Hockey’s official Twitter account and career projections for the Portland Winterhawks star.
How Jones Fits with the Predators
Nashville’s greatest need wasn’t defense. Even with the fourth worst record in the league, only 19 teams allowed fewer goals than the Predators this past regular season. Their leading point scorer was even a defenseman, Shea Weber.
What they were desperate for was offense. Nashville finished tied for dead last in the NHL in goals scored per game. However, great defense beats great offense in hockey.
The Predators will have a great defense for years to come with Jones in the fold.
Jones isn’t just a bruiser. He led all Western Hockey League defensemen in points this year, scoring 14 goals and delivering 42 assists. Jones also scored seven points—recording a goal and six assists—in seven games in the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championship en route to the third goal medal of his career.
He may not provide as much scoring as a Nathan MacKinnon or Jonathan Drouin, but Nashville’s offensive attack will improve with Jones on the ice.
Thanks to the genes he inherited from his father Popeye Jones, who played for over a decade in the NBA, Seth is an elite athlete. As a result, he has unlimited potential as a defender.
Jones’ physical ability alone should quickly provide the Predators with one of the NHL’s top defenses.
He led the Winterhawks to the 2013 Memorial Cup. It wouldn’t be surprising if he led Nashville deep into the Stanley Cup playoffs quite a few times as its defensive anchor.
Jones projects well to being a Kris Letang-like presence for the Predators. The 6’4”, 205-pound Jones is taller, but he’s about the same weight as the 6’0” 201-pound Letang.
Letang, a two-time All-Star and 2012-2013 finalist for the Norris Trophy, tied for the Pittsburgh Penguins team lead in points this past postseason with 16. Considering he plays with Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, that’s quite an accomplishment.
Jones will add the same all-around ability to the Predators.
David Daniels is a breaking news writer at Bleacher Report and news editor at Wade-O Radio.