Nashville Predators general manager David Poile was a major beneficiary as Seth Jones “dropped” a bit during the first round of the 2013 NHL draft. Poile and the Preds jumped at the chance to take Jones with the No. 4 pick in the draft.
Now, with Poile calling the shots as Team USA general manager, he might be leaning toward picking Jones yet again, this time for the American team at the upcoming Winter Olympics. In a radio interview with Sportsnet Radio, Poile said there are still 12 defensemen in the mix for the final spots, and Jones is among them.
“He absolutely does [have a chance to make the team],” Poile told Sportsnet’s Fan 590, according to Pro Hockey Talk. “We’re going to take eight defensemen and we’re down to approximately 12, and [Jones] is one of them.”
The 19-year-old blueliner has been OK after making the immediate jump to the NHL after being drafted in June. Through 20 games, he has two goals and six assists and is a minus-seven. He was one of the 18 D-men invited to the team’s orientation camp prior to the NHL season beginning, and he’s been a mainstay in the USA Hockey program.
It probably also helps Jones’ case quite a bit that as GM of the Predators, Poile watches just about every on-ice move Jones makes.
“I might be getting a little prejudiced because I get to see him every night, but I have other guys see him — and what are you looking for in a defenseman?” Poile added, according to PHT. “The size, the skating, penalty killing, power play, success on the big ice surfaced, winning the gold medal in the World Juniors … all you can say against Seth Jones is he’s 19 years old and doesn’t have the experience.
“Other than that, how does he compare to these other players? To me, that’s how we have to make the judgment.”
Jones scored a goal and added six assists in seven games for the USA team that won the gold medal at the World Junior tournament last season. He served as an alternate captain for that team.