Draft Preview: Seth Jones

The Portland Winterhawks defenseman and World Junior gold medalist is projected to be the top pick in New Jersey.

Seth Jones

Defenseman, Portland Winterhawks
6’3″, 205lbs
Born: October 3, 1994 – Plano, Texas

At this point, it seems inevitable that Colorado will take Seth Jones with the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft.

The son of former NBA player (and Tennessee native) Ronald “Popeye” Jones, Seth Jones was born in Texas while his father was a member of the Dallas Mavericks.  While a member of the Denver Nuggets during the 1999-2000 season, “Popeye” Jones had a brief run-in with then-Avalanche captain Joe Sakic in which the elder Jones asked Sakic how to help Seth become a better hockey player. As the story goes, Sakic said that due to his athletic genes, Seth would most likely need to work on his skating, after which he and his brother were signed up for figure skating classes.

Fast forward to a decade or so later and Joe Sakic is now the Executive Vice President of Hockey Operations for the Colorado Avalanche and Seth Jones is considered almost unanimously to be the top defensive prospect in the June 30th Draft in New Jersey. It seems almost like destiny that the Avalanche would draft Jones – especially with young forwards Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, and Ryan O’Reilly potentially lining up in front of him.

A product of the United States National Development Team, Jones opted to play with the Portland Winterhawks of the Western Hockey League during the 2012-13 season, foregoing his NCAA eligibility. In his one season playing major junior hockey, Jones put up 56 points (14 G – 42 A) in 61 regular season games and tacked on another 19 points (7 G – 12 A) in 25 games during the Winterhawks’ run to the Memorial Cup Final. Jones made his biggest splash, however, during the 2013 World Junior Championships in Ufa, Russia. Jones picked up 6 assists – more than any other defenseman in the tournament – and tacked on 3 goals as the United States took the gold medal.

The International Scouting Service refers to Jones as the sort of defenseman “that most scouts drool over”. In his ISS report card, the lowest rating he has is a “Good” for his physical play. He is rated “Excellent” in size, defensive play, competitiveness and hockey sense. In skating, puck skills, shooting and offensive play – the other categories – he ranks as “Very Good”. The ISS also ranks Jones as the 2nd best skater and 3rd hardest shot of the entire draft class. All of this comes from the only major scouting service that did not rate Jones as the top overall prospect. Simply put, he is considered an excellent all-around player.

The consensus appears to be that Jones’ major weakness is his body strength. At 6’3″ (or 6’4″, depending on who you ask) and 205 pounds, Jones is by no means a small player. However, per several scouting services, his physicality reportedly needs to be improved before he reaches his peak level of performance – something new Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy would likely have no trouble fixing since, as Future Considerations states, he is “extremely coachable”.

Projected to be a franchise two-way defenseman, Jones should be the first player to hear his name called in Newark.

Service Rank
NHL Central Scouting 1st (North American)
ISS 2nd
The Hockey News 1st
Future Considerations 1st
McKeen’s Hockey 1st

For all 2013 NHL Draft Coverage, click here.

Photo Credit: Tom Sorenson

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A native of Franklin, Tennessee, Patten Fuqua is the managing editor of PuckScene.com. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science from Belmont University in Journalism and Broadcasting.