Seth Jones arrives at NHL Scouting Combine
TORONTO -- Three days removed from a disappointing loss in the Memorial Cup final, Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones was right back at it Wednesday at the NHL Scouting Combine.
Jones, ranked No. 1 among North American skaters on NHL Central Scouting's final list of the top draft-eligible skaters, had nine interviews on his first day at the Combine. He'll have eight more Thursday before undergoing his fitness examination Friday at the Toronto International Centre.
Jones told NHL.com he did meet Wednesday with the Colorado Avalanche, the team holding the No. 1 pick at the NHL Draft on June 30 at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J.
"They said there's a lot of hype that goes into [the first pick], and lot of attention and scrutiny as well," Jones told NHL.com. "They asked if I could handle it and obviously I gave them an honest answer. They listened to what I had to say and, I guess, were fine with my response."
Jones also reflected on the remarkable season he experienced as a rookie in Portland this season that ended with a 6-4 loss to the Halifax Mooseheads in the Memorial Cup final Sunday. He praised the top prospects for the Mooseheads, including No. 2 ranked Nathan MacKinnon and No. 3 Jonathan Drouin.
MacKinnon had a remarkable finish with tournament highs of seven goals and 13 points in four games at the Memorial Cup. He had a hat trick and added two assists in the championship game and was awarded the Stafford Smythe Memorial Trophy as tournament MVP.
"That was 100 percent deserved," Jones said. "[MacKinnon] killed us. We didn't have an answer for him. He was phenomenal the whole tournament. He and Jon were both phenomenal, especially in that last game in the finals when they each had five points apiece.
"Nate had the hat trick and they're great players. They are tough to contain and to play defense against. They dominated and it was definitely their tournament."
During the handshake line at the end of the championship, Jones was seen saying something to MacKinnon as the two embraced at center ice.
"I just said, 'See you soon [at the Combine]. Good tournament and it was well deserved.'"