Seth Jones, Nashville Predators' first overall draft pick, was signed to a three-year entry-level deal worth $925,000 per season. "It is a big moment for us, him, his family and we're very proud to have him with us," said GM David Poile.
This week, Jones arrived in Nashville to partake in development camp. Poile wasted no time in signing the 18-year old defenseman while he was in town. After the signing, Poile and Jones held a press conference announcing the signing.
Poile on Jones and his father: "We knew a lot about Seth [and his game] before we drafted him. We heard a lot about him as a person, but honestly we didn't know him [as a person] that well. In the last few days from the draft — and how he conducted himself there and with all the media and all the responsibilities that come along with being a high end player and a top pick — to being here at the rookie camp, what he has done on ice and off the ice has been very good. As I said to both Seth and his father, [he had] very good parenting. Obviously they've done a fabulous job with parenting and have been good mentors along the way. We're very proud at having Seth as a player and equally as important as a person joining our organization."
Jones on being the newest Predator: "I'm extremely excited to be here right now. A couple of days now into the development camp and I've met a lot of great players already, a lot of good guys off the ice, so I'm happy to be here. I'm extremely happy to sign today as well. I've heard so much about the Predator organization and I'm extremely happy to be a part of it. I feel like this is one step closer to reaching my goal to play in the NHL. I'm going to keep training this summer to get better on and off the ice, to get stronger, to become mentally stronger by time of training camp in September. And to really prove to myself that I can play in the NHL next year. That's my goal and I will do whatever I can to reach that."
Jones on signing his first NHL contract: "This is one of the best days of my life and career, so far. Hopefully there is a lot more good days to come. This is all still so surreal."
Nashville chief amateur scout Jeff Kealty on Jones: "We're thrilled to have Seth. I was saying earlier, we have watched Seth for years ever since coming to the US development program in Ann Arbor — and I can remember the first time seeing him two and a half years ago. We saw how big he was, how smooth he was at such a young age. And you saw the upside of how good he was going to be, you knew he was going to be a high pick just seeing him right away. He's one of those guys you go, 'we'll never have a chance to get him because he is going to be a top end pick,' but this year happened to be the case when we were up there. He fell to us at four and we feel that he is going to be a huge part of our future here and a real building block going forward."
Poile on things going well for the organization this offseason: "Around this time last year, things weren't going quite as good with all the things happening. From the draft, taking Seth, and to free agency a few days ago, adding five players to our lineup. I know talking with a couple of players, we really feel we are in a really good place. We feel our team is very competitive and the pain and the scars of not making the playoffs have been replaced by reward from the draft with Seth and a few other players, but what we also did to fill the holes that some were created by us. [We can go from] a non-playoff team to a playoff team."
Poile on the defense now: "With Shea, Roman, Klein-er and with the young guys like Seth, Ellis, Ekholm and Bartley — wow, what a defense to look forward to."
BONUS VIDEO: Seth Jones' father, Popeye, discussed his son's signing.
Jones on being with his dad in Nashville: "It's cool having him here. My mom is pretty upset she couldn't be here, she's kind of the one who wants to be involved in everything, but she's been texting me ten times a day already. I'm glad he is here to take this ride with me."
(Photo by PredsTV)