Rookie Seth Jones was in town this weekend, but it wasn’t his first trip to Los Angeles. In fact, his trip to Staples Center on Saturday wasn’t even the first time the 19-year old defenseman had been inside the arena.
“I was actually in LA with my agency’s training camp a few times and I was here when the Kings won the Cup, Game 6,” he told MayorsManor. “A bunch of the guys from the agency were here for a couple of weeks to skate and workout. It just happened to be at that time.”
That’s a pretty nice coincidence for a young hockey player hoping to make it to the NHL someday.
For Jones though, the dream of playing against the world’s elite recently became a reality. Selected in the first round of the 2013 NHL Draft, he’s found an ideal home with the Predators.
“I had never been to Nashville before I was drafted,” he began to explain. “So I was obviously a little blind going in, as well. From every single person I talked to about Nashville before I went though, they said it’s a great city, not one bad thing. And that’s exactly what happened when I got there. I love it. I’m living with my mom this year and probably next year as well, and we’re having a good time down there. People are nice, traffic isn’t too bad either, which is good.”
When the conversation turned to the team’s ‘yellow’ jerseys, he quickly – and with a smile – corrected the question.
“It’s gold. It’s gold around here. [Laughter} I like them. I like the gold jerseys to be honest.”
One of the things some thought he might not be such a fan of, was being asked to move over to the other side of the ice. A natural right-handed shot, Jones was asked to play on the left side by Predators coach Barry Trotz.
“It’s not really as hard as people make it out to be, you just have to use your back a little bit more in certain situations. The most difficult thing is probably keeping the puck in the offensive zone in the back end. You get some spinning pucks or something like that that may trick you.”
Off the ice, the youngster says he’s well aware of the reputation preceding teammate Rich Clune.
“He’s maybe calmed down a little bit now,” Jones shared with a grin. “I’ve heard some funny stories, but I’ve never really been apart of any.”
He was able to talk at greater length about several of the Kings prospects though, kids that he either played with or against during his time in the U.S. National Development Program or as a member of the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks.
Here’s a quick rundown we did…
On Derek Forbort: – “He’s a good defenseman, he’s big, he’s very mobile. He can skate the puck and make smart decisions with the puck. I know he was on the World Junior team there for USA, and he was obviously a big part of that team on the back end.”
On Kevin Gravel: – “I didn’t talk to Gravel too much, I actually got hurt that World Juniors. But what I watched, he was obviously a good defenseman. He’s big, can shoot the puck pretty well and makes smart decisions in the defensive zone.”
On Nick Ebert: – “I’ve played against him at the Final-40 camp for the Team USA development program… He has great vision on the ice, from what I’ve heard.”
On Alex Roach: – “Oh, yeah. I remember playing him this past year [in the WHL]. He has a hard shot, I remember he scored a power play goal against us, a nice one-timer from the point. He’s obviously another good defenseman, he’s very physical. He made our forwards pay the price in the defensive zone every time and in the front of the net. I think he’s going to be a good player.”
Jones, like Sean Monahan of the Calgary Flames – a player we profiled here a few weeks ago – are considered two of the leading candidates for this year’s Calder Trophy, recognizing the NHL’s best rookie.
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