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Jones falls to fourth, Preds get another potential franchise d-man

USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp - Sweden v USA

LAKE PLACID, NY - AUGUST 10: Seth Jones #7 of Team USA skates against Team Sweden at the Lake Placid Olympic Center on August 10, 2011 in Lake Placid, New York. Team Sweden defeated Team USA 4-1. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

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The top-ranked North American skater, at least according to NHL Central Scouting, was drafted fourth overall today in Newark.

Not many expected Seth Jones to still be available when the Nashville Predators took to the podium to announce their pick, but after Nathan MacKinnon went to the Avs first overall, Florida surprised by selecting center Aleksander Barkov and Tampa Bay took winger Jonathan Drouin third, leaving the big American defenseman available.

For the Preds, it gives them another potential franchise defenseman to go with captain Shea Weber.

Nashville, of course, lost Norris Trophy finalist Ryan Suter to free agency last summer.

“I think [Jones] is the best player in the draft,” said Nashville general manager David Poile prior to the draft. “That is my, our organization’s opinion as to what he is going to become.”