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Road to the NHL Draft: Seth Jones

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By John Vogl

Seth Jones

Position: Defense

Junior team: Portland (WHL)

Born: Arlington, Texas

Measurables: 6-foot-4, 205 pounds

2012-13 stats: 61 games, 14 goals, 42 assists, 56 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 1

Lowdown: Jones, to use lingo familiar to his family, should be a slam dunk to go first overall if Colorado keeps the pick and steps to the dais June 30. The son of former NBA player Popeye Jones fell in love with hockey while his dad played in Denver after a tip from Joe Sakic, the Avalanche’s new executive vice president of hockey operations. If the Avs call his name, it will complete the homecoming. (UPDATE: After this was written, the Avs indicated the will likely draft a forward.) In addition to making a good story, it makes sense. The Avs have young, talented forwards, but they need defense. Jones is the best. Opponents struggle to get around his expansive wingspan. Most can’t speed past him because Jones is a flawless skater. The Texas native doesn’t have the mean streak many like along the blue line, but he is a good hitter. He should gain weight and become even more feared.

His offensive skills, including a cannon from the blue line, translate to the NHL. He had 15 points in 21 playoff games. At the world junior championships, he recorded seven points in seven games to help the United States win gold. He’s a smart passer.

If Jones goes No. 1 overall, he’ll be the first African-American selected at the top of the NHL draft. Evander Kane went fourth in 2009 to set the bar for black players. Jones would also be the first American picked at the top since Patrick Kane in 2007.

They said it: "Just a great athlete and built for today's game. He's big, strong, physical, great defensively, has a good stick, makes an excellent first pass out of the zone and plays in all situations. He's the most well-rounded player.” – Phil Housley, who coached Jones on the U.S. world junior team.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to next month's NHL draft, which will be held June 30.


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John Vogl

John Vogl

John Vogl has been covering the Sabres since 2002-03, an era that has included playoff runs, last-place finishes and three ownership changes. The award-winning writer is the Buffalo chapter chairman for the Professional Hockey Writers’ Association.

@BuffNewsVogl |

About Sabres Edge

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has been covering the Buffalo Sabres since 2007. He is a member of the Professional Hockey Writers' Association and can vouch that exposed flesh freezes instantly when walking in downtown Winnipeg in January.

@BNHarrington |

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz |