Ed. Note: From August 21st through September 16th, we will be providing previews for each player for the 2013-14 season. In no specific order, today we continue with Seth Jones…
|Seth Jones’ last 3 seasons|
2012-13 in review:
It was a banner season for Seth Jones, who maintained his top prospect status leading up to the much-anticipated NHL Draft.
Jones finished his first WHL regular season with 56 points in 61 games for the Portland Winterhawks. He then led them to the Memorial Cup in May with 15 points in 21 playoff games. That wasn’t all for Jones. He played a big role in Team USA’s gold medal at the World Junior Championships in January.
The 2013 draft class was viewed as the best the NHL has seen in a decade. Jones was unanimously the top-ranked defenseman in the class, but fell to No. 4 overall due to the immense talent at forward (Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov, Jonathan Drouin). Jones dropped to the Predators, who had the smooth-skating blue-liner at the top of their board.
Burning question for 2013-14: How much should be expected from the rookie?
At this point it appears it would take a lot for Seth Jones not to make the Predators’ opening night roster. He can help the defense immediately and head coach Barry Trotz has hinted the rookie sensation could see some time alongside Shea Weber in the preseason – at the very least.
There’s a lot of hype surrounding Jones entering his rookie campaign. He was the top prospect on many teams’ draft boards this past summer and is considered a franchise-type defenseman for the future. Expectations for Jones in his rookie season should be halted a bit, though, because every rookie defenseman has its ups and downs. Look no further than similarly-hyped blue-liners like Drew Doughty and Victor Hedman, who experienced growing pains in their rookie campaigns as teenagers.
If all goes well, Jones will make an impact on the Predators. He should help improve a power play unit that finished 17th a year ago. He should boost the defense, giving the team a much-needed additional top-four defenseman. It also wouldn’t be a surprise to see him receive nearly 20 minutes a night by the end of the season.
Although he is mature beyond his years, Jones will be 19 when the season starts. Nineteen. He’s going to make mistakes. He’s going to have ups and downs. As long as he irons out those mistakes as the year goes on, and proves to be a good addition to the special teams, the Predators should be happy with the phenom’s first NHL season.