The Dean’s List series promises that it will not make a habit of jumping this far ahead in the future of hockey to profile a budding star but this 2013 NHL prospect has been making too much noise to simply ignore. How often do you find an emerging hockey star in the land of Texas? Seth Jones is proving that hockey has no geographic limits. The six-foot-four-inch 16-year-old hails from Dallas, Texas and is the son of former NBA basketball forward Popeye Jones which explains the youngster’s excellent athleticism. Jones is not eligible for the NHL Entry Draft until 2013 but fantasy owners will soon start realizing that he is quickly developing into a special prospect.
The Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League selected the star defenseman 11th overall in the 2009 Bantam Draft. Seth has not made his decision on whether he will pursue the NCAA or major junior route but one thing is for certain, Seth will be among the names mentioned to go first overall in 2013. Scouts have been thoroughly impressed with the 16-year old over this past week as he showcases his skills at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp as they prepare for the upcoming Under-20 World Junior Championships in December. To be blunt, Seth Jones has been one of the best players in this evaluation camp that is usually reserved primarily for 18-year olds.
It is easy for people to want to compare an emerging talented defenseman to one of hockey’s great players in Niklas Lidstrom, but, in this instance let’s not nix it. Comparing Seth Jones to Lidstrom is fairly accurate in terms of his playing style. The kid has a lot of work to do to even be mentioned in the same sentence as Nik but he plays the game eerily similar. Jones has a smooth effortless skating stride that complements his soft hands and passing abilities. Skating at well over six-feet, Jones is not shy to playing the body when needed but will not seek out an opponent to make a point. His hockey intelligence and decision making are admirable as he rarely makes the wrong play. The most impressive attribute of this rising star is his on-ice positioning and ability to get his hard and extremely accurate shot on net which is a shooting skill that Is often overlooked.
Seth Jones has survived the first cuts at the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp and it would not be surprising to see the swift defender on Team U.S.A. when the 2012 World Junior Championships get underway in Alberta later this year. The Dean’s List is excited to see Jones’ progression over the next few years but the fact that he is drawing such rave reviews this early on bodes well for his future as a fantasy contributor. The NHL’s Dallas Stars are a team that could use a talent of Jones’ in their pipelines and by the time 2013 rolls around Seth Jones could find himself returning home to Dallas, Texas. Only time will tell how good he can become but we will certainly be watching very closely.