Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, the son of former NBA player Popeye Jones, was rated the top North American skater for the NHL entry draft by the league’s Central Scouting Bureau. Aleksander Barkov of the Finnish team Tappara was rated the top European skater in advance of the draft, which will be held June 30 in Newark, N.J.
The weighted draft lottery will be held next Monday.
Jones was born in Arlington, Texas, while his father played for the Dallas Mavericks. Popeye Jones is now an assistant coach with the Brooklyn Nets. Seth Jones, who stands 6-foot-3 1/2 and weighs 205 pounds, also was the top-rated North American skater in the midseason rankings. He played on the gold-medal-winning U.S. team at the last world junior championships, where he had a goal, seven points, and a +8 defensive rating in seven games.
Barkov is a 6-foot-3 center who played for Finland in the world junior tournament. No Finnish player has ever been chosen first in the NHL draft.
Ranking behind Jones among North American skaters were center Nathan MacKinnon and left wing Jonathan Drouin of the Halifax Mooseheads, a club in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.