The Hockey Gods smiled in the Nashville Predators Sunday.
After year after losing Ryan Suter to free agency, the Predators elite defensive prospect Seth Jones with the fourth overall pick of the NHL Draft.
Years from now experts will wonder how Jones fell to Nashville. He is a rare defensive talent: big, fast and skilled. He could join Shea Weber as a cornerstone defenseman in Music City for the next decade. Roman Josi is coming into his own as well.
Most draft experts ranked Jones as the No. 1 or No. 2 prospect in the draft. And yet he fell to No. 4, to general manager David Poile’s absolute delight.
As expected, the Colorado Avalanche passed Jones, a hometown prospect, to take center Nathan MacKinnon. That adds to Colorado’s surplus down the middle, something of note to the Blues and other teams needing to add an offensive centerman.
The Florida Panthers passed on Jones to take Aleksander Barkov, a big centerman. Then Tampa Bay passed on Jones to take natural scorer Jonathan Drouin.
Those decisions were a godsend for the Predators, who should have an elite defensive corps for years to come.