Seth Jones 2016-17 Stats
Games played: 75
Goals: 12 (career high)
Assists: 30 (career high)
Points: 42 (career high)
Time on ice: 23:24 (career high)
Penalty Minutes: 24 (ties career high)
Corsi For (even strength): 52.4%
On January 6, 2016, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded All-Star center Ryan Johansen straight-up for defenseman Seth Jones. Most of you were not happy about this. Johansen was struggling that season - who wasn’t, that year? - but was coming off a breakout 2014 and an even better 2015. It appeared that Columbus finally had a true 1C. Jones, meanwhile, shared that pedigree of being a #4 overall pick, but in 2.5 years in Nashville he had yet to step out of the shadow of the likes of Shea Weber and Roman Josi. Could Jones have as much of an impact on the team as Joey did at his best?
So far the answer seems to be “yes, and then some.” Jones stood out this season as a true 1D, and one of the greatest defensemen in franchise history. (The only possible rival for that would be Jones’ partner this season, Zach Werenski)
Jones’ game took a step forward from last season as he improved the physical side of his game and took full advantage of his size in the defensive zone. On offense, his goal numbers exploded, with 12 on the season. 3 of them were game winners. In the 3 on 3 overtime format, Coach Tortorella would start with Jones as his defenseman, with Alexander Wennberg and Brandon Saad. That unit could overwhelm opponents with their speed.
My favorite Jones play of the season was on January 8 against the Philadelphia Flyers. The previous night, Jones had committed a turnover which led to a game-winner by the New York Rangers with seconds left in the game. The Flyers had scored in the final minute as well to send the game to overtime. Faced with a third straight loss following the 16 game winning streak, Jones stepped up to set up the game winning goal:
Several things stand out here:
- Jones plays sound defense, dropping down to block the shot and get his stick on the puck
- Jones uses his speed to get the puck quickly down the ice
- In addition to using his stickwork to collect the puck in the defensive zone, in the offensive zone he delivers a perfect pass to a trailing Nick Foligno for the goal
His abilities and his production led Jones to an appearance in the All Star Game, where he helped the Metro Division win the event. If he continues to play like this, he will play in many more All Star Games. This may be hard to believe, but he can still improve. If he stays on this trajectory he will be a Norris Trophy contender very soon. At least he should be the defensive leader of the Blue Jackets for years to come.