John Tortorella isn't afraid to play Seth Jones.
The former fourth overall pick in the draft, Jones is second in average time on ice (TOI) in the NHL this season, playing 26:09 per game. He trails only Drew Doughty of the last-place Los Angeles Kings, who's skating 26:54 per night.
Only 98 defensemen in the NHL average 20 minutes or more per game. Of that group, 73 players have played 21:00 or more, and only 21 defensemen average 24 or more minutes per game.
The Blue Jackets have four of the top 100 minute-eaters among defensemen in the NHL. Ryan Murray is 50th at 21:58, Werenski is 53rd at 21:55, and David Savard checks in 86th, logging 20:33 per game.
It's interesting how John Tortorella chooses to deploy Jones. He's third in the NHL in shifts/game at 30.6, with an average shift length of 0:51, tied for 32nd in the NHL. It's clear that Tortorella doesn't mind Jones taking long shifts, and, with 30-plus shifts per game, he's not getting much rest in between each shift.
Jones' progression from complementary player in Nashville to Norris Trophy contender in Columbus is fascinating. On a stacked Predators blue line, Jones averaged 19:44 per night. Granted, he was aged 19-21 during his tenure there, but it's still a stark contrast from the 24:16 he's played since joining the Blue Jackets.
Jones is simply a huge part of the team now and going forward, and is signed to an extremely team-friendly contract until 2022. For the Blue Jackets to be successful, Jones will have to play a key role. Tortorella knows this, and gives him ample – and then some – opportunity to impact the game.
Note: all stats courtesy of NHL.com
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