Seth Jones Sits Squarely in Norris Trophy Discussion With Fourth-Straight All-Star Selection

By Dan Dukart on January 23, 2020 at 1:45 pm
Seth Jones scores his fifth goal of the season in a 4-3 win over the Winnipeg Jets
Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow still just 25 years old, Seth Jones has long been building a case to be perennially in the conversation for the Norris Trophy, the award given annually to the best defenseman in the NHL.

While his offensive statistics are down slightly year over year, this may be his most impressive overall season to date. Jones, who is sixth in the NHL in average TOI (25:22) behind only the likes of Drew Doughty and Roman Josi, is having possibly his greatest defensive impact in the same year that the Blue Jackets went to bat with the most inexperienced goalie tandem in the NHL. At the 51 game mark, the Blue Jackets and Dallas Stars lead the league in goals against per game (2.5). 

He's hardly a well-kept secret, having been named to the NHL's All-Star Game for the fourth consecutive season, but one can't help but wonder if he would see more credit in a more national market. Jones, who has skated 519 regular season games, is already the franchise's all-time leading points scorer among defensemen with 193 points in 320 games. Only Zach Werenski's 158 points in 281 games comes close (.56) to matching Jones' .60 points/game.

The perfect modern defenseman, Jones makes a great first pass leaving the zone. He has two assists in the past two games, and both of them come from defensive zone passes that get the Blue Jackets up ice in a hurry. It's something that coaches Brad Shaw and John Tortorella preach for all of their defensemen, but if it were so easy, everyone would be Seth Jones.

In this first video, Jones provides an option to Werenski and gets his feet moving up ice. Because he's already avoided the first forechecker (a man named Artemi Panarin), he has an easy passing angle to hit Pierre-Luc Dubois in the middle of the ice. This turns into a 3-on-2 and, ultimately, the game-winning goal.

 In the second video, Jones makes a boards pass that leads Oliver Bjorkstrand into the offensive zone. Not to take anything away from Jones, but it was Bjorkstrand's ridiculous effort in bouncing off his check that gave Jones the primary assist on this goal, his second game in a row with an assist on a Bjorsktrand game-winning goal. Still, the play doesn't happen without Jones transporting the puck seamlessly to his teammate.

We'd be remiss to not mention his goal, which tied the game at 1-1. Goals have been hard to come by for Jones, who is shooting just 4.3%. This goal, the fifth of the year, was his first in 22 games. On the scoring play, Jones looked like an oversized high-schooler playing against the freshman team. He built up speed and simply took the puck to the cage and beat Laurent Brossoit to the near-side. 

The right-handed defenseman is a well-deserving All-Star, and hopefully, this is the year that his name finally breaks through into the Norris Trophy conversation. It's obvious to those who seem him nightly that he's earned that. 

Follow 1st Ohio BatteryFacebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube

View 2 Comments