Home > Recruiting > Seth Jones Chooses Portland

Seth Jones Chooses Portland

via USA Hockey

Seth Jones’s story is a fairly well known one among hockey fans: born to former NBAer Popeye Jones, Seth first picked up hockey while living in Denver, and honed his game playing youth hockey in Texas. The NTDPer has already spent two years with the program, and because he missed the NHL draft cutoff by just over a month he will have to spend his draft year somewhere else.

That place, he announced on twitter, is with the Portland Winterhawks of the WHL. Jones was taken by Everett in the first round of the WHL bantam draft in 2009, but had made it known that had he had the choice between reporting to Everett or playing college hockey, he was going to go to North Dakota. That allowed Everett to trade his rights to Portland, where Jones will spend his draft eligible year.

By all accounts, Jones should do quite well in Portland. He stands about 6’3″ and is a little over 200 pounds with room to get bigger. He skates tremendously well and can play well in his own zone plus has tremendous offensive upside. He’ll battle QMJHL forward Nathan MacKinnon in the race to be the #1 overall pick, and while I’d take MacKinnon because I tend to favor forwards, there’s no doubt that Jones is a potentially elite defenseman, and one of the best American prospects in quite some time.

Though this is a college hockey site, I think he probably made the correct call in choosing Portland. Though he could probably benefit from a college weight program, it probably does him better to go out and dominate young kids in the WHL and play in a ton of games before heading to the NHL than it would for him to struggle with the more physical aspects of college hockey (and I think it’s fair to say that an 18 year old, no matter how talented, would struggle physically playing against men). It’s important to reiterate, though, that Jones would fare well regardless of the path he chose. By all accounts he is as smart and humble and hardworking as he is talented. And his pre-decision actions, personally visiting Everett, Portland and Grand Forks before making his decision, certainly bear that out. This is one of the rare prospects that the college game will be worse off for not getting a chance to experience, but also one of the rare prospects whom you can’t blame for making the decision he did, even as biased as we college fans can be.

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  1. May 8, 2012 at 4:11 pm

    More physical aspects of college hockey? Are you insane? Ever been to a WHL game? The worst WHL team would destroy the best D1 team. Get up North and catch a game before commenting ya dumb yank.

    • May 8, 2012 at 4:29 pm

      I am from up north, and have been further north than a lot of whl teams, some of which are in america, but other than that your comment is quite insightful. Nope, still nonsensical. My bad. Enjoy your inferior brand of hockey.

  2. Joel
    May 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I LOL’d at your insinuating that College Hockey is better than the WHL. Which league puts more players into the NHL? Also, the Portland Winterhawks would destroy any College team right now.

  3. May 8, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    CHL is the best development league in the world for the NHL. College hockey route is for players who weren’t drafted when they were 16 and/or couldn’t make the team.

  4. Z
    May 8, 2012 at 9:07 pm

    How would you explain the fact that some of the top players in the NHL are from college hockey? Just from North Dakota alone, you have Zach Parise and Jonathon Toews, both captains of playoff teams. Not to mention other successful players like Parise’s teammate and fellow UND alum, Travis Zajac, as well as TJ Oshie and Drew Stafford, both key players on their teams.

  5. May 10, 2012 at 10:22 pm

    i played junior A and no major team would beat any of the top colleg programs. you are talking about 17 an d18 year odl kids playing agians 23 year olds. the college teams would win everytime.

  6. May 10, 2012 at 10:23 pm

    and i need to proofread cause i cant type worth a damn lol

  7. canadahockeyguy
    May 11, 2012 at 11:03 am

    A physically mature 20 yr old hockey player is going to be tougher to play against than a 15 yr old not matter who is more skilled.

    Look at the Oilers. They have a ton of top young prospects from years of high draft picks.

    Yet when they play the UofA hockey team they have all they can handle and sometimes lose. Physically mature players with experience can beat younger more talented players.

    USA college hockey is much better than Canadian University hockey and the Oilers prospects as a collective group would be the best WHL team by far yet they struggle to win.

    So how do you figure the worst WHL team which would be lucky to have even one player on it’s roster is good enough to be a top NHL prospect “destroying the best D! team” ?

    I love the WHL, but let’s be real.

  8. Alex
    May 11, 2012 at 1:27 pm

    if you want a free education go to college. if you want to make the NHL then CHL is the best route. plain and simple.

  9. May 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm

    Dickhead :
    More physical aspects of college hockey? Are you insane? Ever been to a WHL game? The worst WHL team would destroy the best D1 team. Get up North and catch a game before commenting ya dumb yank.

    No way. Most college teams would beat the WHL teams. Good college teams have the same number of drafted players as good WHL teams. WHL teams are full of 16-20 year olds, while NCAA teams are made of of 18-24 year olds – -older, stonger and more mature. Did you ever notice how guys who struggle in college hockey suddenly start scoring with big numbers in the WHL? I look at the some NH: drafted second-round d-men who all struggled at Denver for playing time for example (TJ Fast, Keith Seabrook and William Wrenn). When they jumped to the WHL, they were all suddenly power-play QBs and important players.

  10. pomms29
    October 3, 2012 at 6:26 pm

    the 18-23 in the chl have already been drafted and would be playing in the A or the nhl some do come back to there junior team but the top talent is already in the nhl

  11. Jason
    October 9, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    No way in hell can the worst WHL beat up on BC, North Dakota, or Minnesota. Sudbury barely beat a USHL team at the Junior Challenge.

  1. May 11, 2012 at 12:28 pm
  2. May 12, 2012 at 12:22 pm
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