NEWARK – Seth Jones started the 2013 NHL Draft process by being the consensus top prospect of the draft class. But when it was showtime, the highly touted defenseman fell to fourth overall and was selected by the Nashville Predators.
“I’m excited to be a Predator,” said Jones, who didn’t seem disappointed by being passed up by Colorado, Florida and Tampa Bay.
Colorado stood by their word and took Nathan MacKinnon. Florida selected Aleksander Barkov, who was also a target of the Predators. Tampa Bay then drafted Jonathan Drouin, the next-best forward.
That left the Predators on the clock and they went with Jones, their best available player.
“I’m extremely happy and I’m not going to complain,” he said.
While Jones falling to the No. 4 pick was a surprise, the Predators selecting him was anything but. GM David Poile stated earlier in the week that the Predators would take Jones if he was available at their pick.
Jones finished the 2012-13 season with 56 points in 61 games for Portland of the WHL. From start to finish he was viewed as the can’t-miss player in this draft. He’s competitive, and like anyone else wanted to go first overall, but he’s not going to let falling to No. 4 affect him.
“I have a competitive nature. I get that from my parents,” said Jones, whose father Popeye is a former NBA player. “You definitely want to prove them wrong (Colorado, Florida, Tampa Bay) and you definitely want to show them why they should have picked you. That’s not my only goal next year but it’s definitely on my list.”
Jones’ ultimate goal is to make the Predators roster next season. Scouts, general managers and experts believe Jones is NHL-ready.
“I think I can be a solid defenseman, as long as I produce a little offensively as well,” Jones said.
Next up is development camp, then training camp and then the season. All the hype, drama, anticipation and preparation is now over with. Jones is property of the Nashville Predators and he’s more than happy about that.
“This has been a long time coming and it seems like the last couple years have just been dragged on,” he said. “I knew I was going to go to a good place. You don’t need to go first overall or high to have a good career.”