It has been hinted at since the preseason, but it appears Seth Jones, who Nashville selected fourth overall in the 2013 NHL Draft, will be paired up with Predators captain Shea Weber as early as Tuesday night against the Wild.
Both Jones and Weber are right-hand shots, which may not be ideal, but the poise and range the young defender has shown in his first two games of NHL action suggests he can play his off-hand side.
“They could be a really good pair,” coach Barry Trotz told The Tennessean. “Shea does what he does, and Seth is in game three of his career, but tracking really well in terms of poise and playing.”
Jones played 25:46 against the Colorado Avalanche Friday and has shown an ability to defend at an NHL level despite recently turning 19. Additionally, playing with the vastly experienced and talented Weber should put less burden on Jones to do the heavy lifting at such an early stage in his career.
Weber seems to be on board with the two playing together, as he explained to The Tennessean:
“We can definitely cover a lot of ice with our wingspan,” Weber said. “Definitely two guys who are rangey and have long sticks and long reach. Hopefully it will make it a challenge for some of the top forwards.”
Whether or not this is a long-term move remains to be seen, though there's plenty of time for experimentation.
For Jones, it is also going to be an interesting learning experience. Playing alongside one of the game's best defensemen is certainly a unique way to get an NHL education. Since Jones is unofficially replacing Ryan Suter, Weber's old D partner and current Minnesota Wild defenseman, might as well get the trial started early.