2013 Draft Prospect Profile #2: Seth Jones

Photo by Derek Mortensen - courtesy of the WHL - http://www.whl.ca/photo_gallery/gallery/id/5975 - Photo by Derek Mortensen

Our second 2013 prospect profile is on Seth Jones of the Portland Winterhawks.

Seth Jones

Position: Defense
Team: Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
Age: 18
Date of Birth: October 3, 1994
Place of Birth: Plano, Texas
Ht: 6'4" Wt: 206lbs
Shoots: Right

2012-2013 Regular Season Stats:

GP G A PTS +/- PIM
61
14 42
56 +46 33

2012-2013 Playoff Stats:

GP G A PTS +/- PIM
21 5 10
15 +15 4

Seth Jones is a rare prospect. He is the son of a former NBA basketball player, and as such was blessed with an insanely large frame. But, on top of that, he's also athletic as hell, thanks in part to the smartness of his father. Jones started playing hockey while his father was playing for the Denver Nuggets, and through that connection his father was able to chat up Joe Sakic about how best to get his son improved with hockey. Not a bad start, eh? Jones followed that up with figure skating lessons, and that helped form the foundation for his hockey abilities.

In short, Jones is huge, but he skates like a man much smaller.

Overall, Jones combines the ability to move the puck, the ability to skate very well for a large defenseman, and the size and smarts to play shut-down defense. He also has a very dangerous shot from the point. He is one of the most complete defensemen to come into the draft in a long time. If he continues to develop, he can be a guy who plays top-pairing minutes, leads the PK, quarterbacks the PP, and wears a letter on his sweater in time.

Central Scouting his him listed as the #1 North American skater in their final rankings.

Scouting Reports:

A defenseman with an excellent frame. Jones' athleticism allows him to be a very good skater for a player of his size. He has excellent mobility and is solid both offensively and defensively. Jones gives a smart first pass and is also capable of utilizing his skating ability to bring the puck up himself. He has good hockey sense and is an assett on the powerplay thanks to his mobility, puck-handling and a very dangerous slapshot.

Matias Strozyk, Elite Prospects

If Seth Jones has a weakness in his game, I do not see it... Jones is a high-end (arguably an elite) skater, who moves at a unique and unusual level for such a large man. With his very large wingspan and mobility, Jones closes gaps with high efficiency, and he can be difficult to get around. His best trait is his clearly elite hockey sense. Jones was making pro-level reads when he was 16, showing he was, and still is, advanced way beyond his years. He makes a multitude of good defensive plays with positioning, stick work and anticipation. He seems to always to be a step ahead of everyone else. This is evident in his offensive ability as well. He knows when to pinch, and he can exhibit high levels of offensive skill, creativity and vision. Jones has a cannon from the point, which can make him a very dangerous player on the power play. He is a big man with a ton of weapons. Finally, his size is a tremendous asset. He stands around 6'4'', and while he isn't a mean player, he takes his checks with the body. He projects as a top-end physical player.

- Hockey Prospectus

Jones is an extremely rare blend of size, mobility, skill and raw athletic ability. He already has an NHL frame, standing 6’4 205 lbs, and despite his size, has exceptional mobility and a very smooth skating stride. He uses this high-end skating ability to carry the puck out of his own end and through the neutral zone with relative ease. When he isn’t given room to skate, Seth’s superb vision allows him to identify the appropriate outlet and make a crisp first pass out of the zone to start the play up ice. His calm demeanour and high hockey IQ means he seldom makes mistakes and turnovers in his own end are rare.

On the power play, Jones is capable of playing a quarterback role, but appears more comfortable as a shooter. He possesses an extremely heavy slapshot that he is not afraid to let go from anywhere in the offensive zone. His mobility allows him to fake, move laterally and create lanes to get his shot through which makes a very dangerous weapon at the point on the man advantage.

One of the most unique skill sets Jones possesses are his silky smooth hands; a very rare quality for a defensemen his size. He has the ability to stick handle his way out of trouble in small spaces and has excellent control of the puck at top speed. This was on full display during a highlight reel end-to-end goal scored back on Halloween against Everett.

- Anton Tibaldi, Jr. Hockey Recruit

Why he'd be a good fit in Columbus:

To be honest, Jones would be a good fit just about anywhere. Jones' ceiling is a Shea Weber or Chris Pronger kind of ceiling, and while Columbus currently is strong throughout the system on defense, a player like Jones does not come along very often. Adding Jones would help to solidify the blue line for a decade, and would allow the Blue Jackets to trade some other defensive assets for help elsewhere.

Jones can play in all three facets of the game, can move well, and is a good character guy. He would help the struggling Power Play, would add to an already-strong PK unit, and would add to a corps of defensive skaters who show some two-way ability. And, frankly, the thought of Jones and Ryan Murray together as a potential top-pairing for the next decade? Wow.

That said, Jones might go #1 overall. If he doesn't, he won't escape the top three picks. So, the Jackets would have to package assets just to get him.

Jones in Action:

It's not game action, but this is an interesting look at Jones' move to the NHL as the son of a pro basketball player, through the lens of race.

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