NEWARK -- The Florida Panthers threw the first curveball during the NHL Draft Sunday by selecting Aleksander Barkov No. 2 overall when many had projected Nathan MacKinnon or Seth Jones to be the top two. Jones, son of former NBA player Popeye, had to wait a few more picks before finally being selected by the Nashville Predators fourth overall.
Before the Tampa Bay Lightning chose Jonathan Drouin at No. 3, general manager Steve Yzerman was seen chatting with Predators GM David Poile. It was probably some reassurance that Tampa was still going with Drouin, opening the door for Nashville to take Jones with the fourth pick.
Florida Panthers GM Dale Tallon said the reason why he passed on Jones at No. 2 was the fact that the team is stocked with defenseman in the organization. Yzerman and the Lightning seemed destined for Drouin, who team director of scouting Al Murray described as "as good of a playmaker as there is in the draft."
Jones will join a Predators defense corps that has Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Kevin Klein locked up for at least the next five season, plus up-and-coming Ryan Ellis. And if you're to believe head coach Barry Trotz moments after Jones' selection, the Portland Winterhawks defenseman will be playing alongside Weber.
Dirk from On the Forecheck likes the possibilities with Jones:
As a right-handed shot, however, he steps into the one area of the depth chart where the Predators are actually set up rather nicely. Perhaps as Jones develops into NHL-readiness, he can force the team's hand to send either Kevin Klein or Ryan Ellis packing.
After having long been thought to possibly be the No. 1 overall pick, having dropped to fourth, how big will the chip be on Jones' shoulder next season?
"I’ll try to make, in a good way, those teams regret not taking me," Jones said.
For a full list of first round selections and player profiles, check out the Y! prospect tracker.
Follow Sean Leahy on Twitter at @Sean_Leahy