Philadelphia Flyers rumors: why Seth Jones makes sense to the Flyers
I preface this article by saying that I would rather the Flyers acquire a certain number of players than Seth Jones if they are looking to fill the role of a top pair defenseman this offseason (they should be). Personally, adding Ryan Ellis, Dougie Hamilton, Mattias Ekholm or John Klingberg would make me happier than seeing a blockbuster Jones trade on draft day. This is not an article advocating the acquisition of Jones, so please do not interpret it that way.
That said, Seth Jones receives far too much vitriol from the analytical community as a player who needs a different lens of vision to be appreciated. I’m not just going to rule out analytical results like some people are, as these metrics are a tool for understanding things about the player, but I will be looking to find excuses behind the gap between the eye test and the numbers. In doing so, I think I was able to illustrate why Jones still deserves some consideration for a return to form as a long-term fix on the blue line for Philadelphia. How is it?
It’s weird to claim that John Tortorella’s system wasn’t a fantastic fit for Jones when it was obviously designed to work around him and Zach Werenski, but that’s the first point I’d like to make here. As Brad rightly pointed out in his article a while back, Jones was atrocious when defending zone entries, an increasingly crucial part of the game as players become more proficient and efficient in the game. during a cycle. However, it’s worth noting that the Jackets over the last few years have collectively been terrible when they’ve refused entries, even when viewed as an elite defensive team. Jones has always been one of the worst offenders in this department, but it’s fair to assess his playing in context as a product in part of coaching.
The reason I feel comfortable throwing Blues under the bus when Jones has always been particularly bad at defending entrances and exits is that when doing the basic analysis of what motivates the A star defender, it’s easy to notice the gap between his straight-line speed / acceleration versus lateral agility and pivot speed. This latter combination hampered Jones when he attempted to defend conservatively, and the aforementioned system further limits how he can apply his top size, skills, and one-on-one stick use to stuff the transition. of the opposition. When Jones and Werenski clicked it could have worked, but with the absence of Panarin and other helpful forwards to lead the race, it didn’t work.
The extreme dichotomy between Werenski’s and Jones’ micro-statistics sheds light on the real underlying problem Jones faced: he was relegated to the role of a pure and very conservative “defensive defender” when it was not. the optimal style for his physical tools. I’ve long said that Seth Jones is a Hall of Fame talent; it has everything one looks for in terms of size, speed, endurance and IQ in hockey. The problem with Jones during his time in Columbus was the effective application of this wonderful set of traits.
After the departure of adequate forward support, John Tortorella clearly put more emphasis on the ‘defensive defenders’ playing it safe and staying behind as Werenski and his company attacked. This coincided with a sharp analytical drop for Jones, from the 95.1th percentile in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 seasons to the 76.9th percentile in 2018-19. The ensuing plunge into the lower regions of the analytic community took place around the time when Columbus fully committed to the identity of “waiting for the other team to come to us,” which clearly hurt. to the impact Jones was having on the games. In a new role in Philadelphia, the former fourth overall pick might be a better fit.
Redundancy and convenience
The questions surrounding Jones boil down to one point: If he comes to Philadelphia and is associated with Ivan Provorov, will he raise his game or remain stationary? The problem here is that Provorov and Jones are quite similar players. Both eat big minutes, both have had years of being whispered as black horse picks for the Norris Trophy, both aren’t analytical darlings, and both seem to lack a dynamic element in their current approach to the game. In a team that struggled mightily last year, in large part because the defense was caught on its heels or unable to contribute to the race, this is an alarming commonality. Jones hasn’t been explicitly proven to be a defenseman capable of propelling the offense of a top duo in the NHL, and that’s something the Flyers can’t afford to miscalculate.
Now, could Jones accomplish this? Absolutely. As mentioned before, he has exceptional speed, an IQ in hockey and the ability to act as the backbone of a team in transition situations. Rather, it’s about whether he’s able to mentally adjust to this role when the last few years of his developmental cycle have taught him to sit down and let Werenski take care of those things. He’s already shown his willingness to be aggressive, and it happened in the peak years of his career; it would be up to Alain Vigneault and Mike Yeo to coax this style again.
Jones will be 27, and with that comes some habits that will take time to be broken and reformed to accommodate the current neutral zone failure the Flyers are executing. The Chuck Fletcher Assessment possesses to do well is whether he can evolve as a player and convert to the aggressive, standing approach that he is capable of executing. If Jones makes that change, he’s got all the skills to be a significantly better defender. There are reasons for hope and a story to tell that may excuse the recently gruesome season and the excruciating results of the conduct of the game.
The hardest thing to discern with Jones when projecting him onto the Flyers roster in 2021-22 is what it will take to move to acquire him. Most trade screenings start with Travis Konecny and Morgan Frost, usually with a few draft picks or lower level prospects. I’m going to leave this segment mostly nebulous for now as no concrete rumors have emerged regarding what Columbus is looking for, but I would like to predict something in the area of TK / Frost / First as a base package.
Jones will have another year on his contract with an amended no-move clause, paying him just AAV $ 5.4 million. The elephant in the room is the extension that will have to be offered to Jones to stay with whoever adds him to the draft. Evolving Hockey predicts a five-year contract at around $ 7 million AAV, but that seems incredibly low given Jones’ opinion within the traditionalist NHL community. The term might be right, but don’t be shocked if the young defender orders something in Roman Josi’s contract territory ($ 9million AAV, 8, full NMC).
Getting this to work for a team of Flyers who are already strapped to the ceiling and exhausted or questionable in critical forward positions will be a tough question when building a competitor. This is another question that needs to be answered in this business scenario, which adds to the potential for disaster in such a transaction. At worst, a deal and Jones signing could completely destroy whatever remains of this team’s pay structure and leave the Flyers unable to afford proven products like Sean Couturier and Claude Giroux; if Chuck Fletcher messes this up and Jones becomes an anchor, the team will inevitably have to head for another rebuild as the Hayes and Jones contracts dissipate.
Risks also create suitors, and the Flyers have been running out of those who have led them in the right direction lately. Maybe they’re due, and maybe Seth Jones will become the rock of a dynasty.
Probably not. We can still hope.