The Columbus Blue Jackets are on the verge of something great. That’s why it was imperative that Seth Jones stayed with the team. He’s going to be the focal point of the Jackets for years to come, and could be viewed as the face of the franchise.
Taken with the 4th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jones has a lot of pressure on him to be an All-Star caliber player. When Nashville selected Jones, it was widely assumed he wouldn’t have a big impact on the roster for two or three years. With Shea Weber and Roman Josi taking a majority of the top defensive minutes, Jones was able to develop at a slower pace.
His situation changed when he was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets. Now Jones has to become a leader, and turn himself into the star player many assumed he would be going into the 2013 Draft. So far, that’s looking like it won’t be a problem.
During the 2015-16 season, Jones recorded 11 points in 40 games with the Nashville Predators. However, he was able to produce 20 points with the Blue Jackets in 41 games. At only 21 years of age, Jones has only begun to blossom into a scoring threat, and last season was proof of that.
Defenceman usually take a longer time to develop than most. Upon being drafted, Jones went right into NHL action. It’s to be expected for him to progress slowly at the professional level. But according to Blue Jackets G.M. Jarmo Kekalainen, Jones is progressing at just the right pace. He stated the following to USA Today upon the team signing Jones to a six-year deal.
“I think he has a lot of room for growth. He is still young. He made a smooth transition to the bigger role he had with us. He is going to get better in all areas. A lot of defencemen don’t hit their (full) potential until 26 or 27.”
Columbus has a roster set for future success. Seth Jones will be given every opportunity to develop into a top-tier defenceman. It wouldn’t be surprising if he evolves into one of the NHL’s best.