The biggest shocker of the first round was top-ranked North American skater Seth Jones not being selected until pick No. 4 when the Nashville Predators added a tremendous two-way defenseman (40-plus-point potential) to their blue line.
Jones, 18, was expected to fall no lower than No. 2, especially because the Colorado Avalanche and Florida Panthers, who held picks No. 1 and No. 2 overall, respectively, both needed a franchise defenseman to build a championship-caliber roster around.
The Tampa Bay Lightning, who probably weren't expecting Jones to be available at No. 3, surprisingly passed on him despite finishing 26th in goals against and missing the playoffs this season largely because of their poor defensive zone play.
"I'd be lying if I said I wasn't thinking about going to (the teams with the top three picks), but at the same time, I'm excited to be a Predator, and obviously Shea Weber is there," said Jones shortly after being drafted. "(Weber is) a great player, and they have a lot of other great players, and I'm happy to be a part of the organization."
Jones is a solid defensive player who impacts games physically and is tough to play against with his size (6'4"), strength (208 lbs) and long reach. He's an exceptional skater who's capable of playing on special teams as a rookie and logging 15-plus minutes each night against talented NHL forwards. His leadership qualities are also impressive.
The Predators lost superstar defenseman Ryan Suter in free agency last summer and were unable to replace him before or during the 2013 season.
Drafting Jones to strengthen the team's blue line and establish a great defense pairing with captain Shea Weber will help make up for Suter's departure (Jones will provide offensive skills similar to Suter) and result in Nashville being one of the most difficult teams to score against next year.