On Tuesday, Team USA/Nashville GM David Poile told Sportsnet’s Fan 590 that he and the Olympic selection committee have narrowed their group of defensemen down to 12, and that Poile’s first-round pick at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft — Seth Jones — is among the dozen.
“He absolutely does,” Poile said, when asked if Jones had a chance of making the team. “We’re going to take eight defensemen and we’re down to approximately 12, and [Jones] is one of them.”
Jones was one of the 18 defensemen invited to August’s National Team Orientation Camp in Arlington, Va, along with Zach Bogosian, Dustin Byfuglien, John Carlson, Danny DeKeyser, Justin Faulk, Cam Fowler, Jake Gardiner, Erik Johnson, Jack Johnson, Nick Leddy, Paul Martin, Ryan McDonagh, Brooks Orpik, Kevin Shattenkirk, Ryan Suter, Jacob Trouba and Keith Yandle.
Jones has eight points through 20 games this year, 14th among all American blueliners, but is fifth in minutes (24:04) behind the likes of Suter, Byfuglien and Martin.
“I might be getting a little prejudiced because I get to see him every night, but I have other guys see him — and what are you looking for in a defenseman?” Poile explained. “The size, the skating, penalty killing, power play, success on the big ice surface, winning the gold medal in the World Juniors… all you can say against Seth Jones right now is he’s 19 years old and he doesn’t have the experience.
“Other than that, how does he compare to these other players? To me, that’s how we have to make the judgment.”
In an interesting turn, Poile also mentioned his thought process with Jones was similar to what he thought of Montreal’s Alex Galchenyuk.
“He’s in his second year, he’s only 19 years old, but he’s a really, really good player,” Poile said. “We’re not averse to choosing him over more veteran players if he’s the best player.”
Galchenyuk has 15 points through 21 games this year, and was also invited to the August camp in Arlington.