On the heels of Mattias Ekholm’s six-year, $22.5 million extension, the focus in Nashville now turns to yet another talented young defenseman — Seth Jones.
“Ongoing conversations with Seth’s agent,” Preds GM David Poile told The Tennessean this week. “But there’s clearly nothing imminent. I have no timetable on it.”
Jones, the fourth overall pick at the ’13 draft, is a pending restricted free agent and one of the best young blueliners in hockey. The 21-year-old has been a lineup fixture right from his rookie campaign, and avoided the dreaded sophomore slump last year by upping his goal (eight) and point (27) totals from his freshman year.
If Poile sticks with his playbook, Jones could be in line for a long-term deal.
Nashville’s made a habit of gambling early on its defensive prospects, opting to give them term at a relatively young age. Two summers ago, Poile signed then 23-year-old Roman Josi to a seven-year, $28 million deal.
This summer, Poile inked Ryan Ellis, also 23, to a five-year, $12.5 million deal.
In both instances, the Preds’ moves paid off. Josi, who plays alongside captain Shea Weber, scored a career-high 55 points last year and finished fifth in Norris voting — all for the price of $4 million annually.
Ellis has emerged as a good offensive d-man, scoring nine goals and 27 points last year in just 58 games. Again, he’s at tremendous value at just $2.5 million per.
Locking up Jones long-term would also stabilize the Nashville defense for years to come. Weber, Josi, Ellis and Ekholm are all currently signed through 2019.