When you take a look back at the last few drafts, you’ll notice more and more first-round defensemen are coming out of the United States. Take a look at the names from just the last few drafts.
2012: Jacob Trouba, Jordan Schmaltz, Brady Skjei
2011: Connor Murphy
2010: Cam Fowler, Derek Forbort, Jarred Tinordi
At last week’s World Junior development camp in Lake Placid, many of those potential future stars were on display to show what they’re all about against Sweden and Finland and didn’t disappoint.
One future star is Seth Jones (pictured). Jones, the son of former NBA journeyman Ronald “Popeye” Jones, made his second appearance at the camp at just age 17. For a young guy, he’s beaming with confidence.
“I feel pretty comfortable out there with the puck,” Jones said. “Whatever the coach at the next level decides to put me out I’ll be more than happy if I’m on the power play or not.”
Jones’ big size (6’3″ 184) already made him an intimidating presence. Being big is something he enjoys.
“You can’t teach size. I got fortunate with that with my dad being 6’8″. Getting just that half-second to get a stick on the puck with my reach is always good.”
Meanwhile, Team USA coach Phil Housley liked what he saw from all of his defensemen, but Jets first-round pick Jacob Trouba impressed him.
“He can play in all situations and has a calming effect back there,” Housley says. “He’s only going to get better.”
Plenty of high praise to go around for all the top talent and it’s not just limited to first-round picks either as Flyers’ third-round pick Shayne Gostisbehere turned many heads as well.
Things are looking good on the back end in America. Defense wins championships, right?