Saturday, February 2, 2013

Prospects Plus

Seth Jones (right) battles Nathan MacKinnon.

For over five years, we've covered hockey as best we can. New York Puck has continued that tradition of the Devils, Islanders, Rangers, Sabres and NHL.

One of the best aspects of the lockout was having the opportunity to follow our prospects playing in the AHL, hockey juniors and the NCAA. We're going to continue to see how those former draft picks are doing on this page. This way, we give you two quality blogs to follow.

When the NHL restarted, I never wanted to deviate from keeping up with kids in each system. We're not going to limit it to only our teams. I will include players who are 2013 Draft Eligible.

In Bob McKenzie's recent mid-season rankings, American Seth Jones topped the list. His strong performance in Team USA's run to gold at the WJC in Russia pushed him over Nathan MacKinnon. Most experts love MacKinnon because he projects as a power center who could be a franchise player. However, the teammate of Halifax Mooseheads' Jonathan Drouin didn't have as prominent a role for Canada.

Jones was outstanding for USA playing big minutes for United States Hockey Hall Of Famer Phil Housley. The smooth skating and skills on both sides of the rink were on display. Jones is the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, who is a Nets assistant. It's a pretty cool story. He's expected to go in the top three.

Much will depend on what a team's need is. It's looking like it could be the Blue Jackets, who took big defenseman Ryan Murray last year. They likely need another forward. Keep in mind that all 14 teams who miss the playoffs will have the same chance in the Draft Lottery. There could be some surprises joining Columbus. Especially if the Flyers, Caps and Panthers keep struggling. In a 48-game sprint, anything's possible.

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