It finally happened! After weeks of rumors and speculated trade packages, the Chicago Blackhawks have acquired Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks will receive Jones, a 2021 first-round pick (32nd overall), and a sixth-round pick in 2022. In return, the Blue Jackets are getting defenseman Adam Boqvist, the Chicago’s 2021 first (12th overall) and second-round (44th overall) picks, and their first-round pick next year.
According to Elliott Friedman of Sportsnet, the Blackhawks will sign Jones to an eight-year contract extension on Wednesday worth a total of $76 million ($9.5 AVV). Aaron Portzline of The Athletic is reporting that the Blue Jackets have already traded the 2022 second-round pick to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Jake Bean.
This closes the book on a saga that started shortly after the regular season concluded when Jones let the Blue Jackets know that he planned to test the open market next summer when his current contract expires. This put Columbus in a bad spot as they lost such players as Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Matt Duchene for nothing just two years ago.
The wheels were put into motion, and the Blackhawks were immediately one of the first teams mentioned as a potential landing spot. When general manager Stan Bowman traded veteran Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers and got Seth’s younger brother Caleb as part of the return, gasoline was thrown on the fire.
Blackhawks Get Their No. 1
Jones is a hot topic depending on whether or not you are part of the “eye test” crowd or into the advanced metrics. There is little doubt that he has a ton of talent and makes a difference on the ice. However, his numbers had declined, especially this past season when the entire Blue Jackets team struggled.
He had five goals and 28 points in 56 games last season while posting a dismal minus-18 rating and a career-low 48.2 Corsi for percentage (CF%.) However, he has proven that he can be a possession driver as his CF% was never lower than 50.3% between 2014-15 and 2018-19, including a career-high 57.5 in 2015-16 with the Nashville Predators.
Bowman is obviously betting the last two seasons for Jones were an exception to the rule, and he will bounce back in Chicago. There will be a lot of pressure on him to live up to not only the price given up to acquire but the huge contract that has followed. He will have to be the No. 1 that his boss envisions him as if this is going to work out in the end.
Blue Jackets Land Boqvist
The Blue Jackets move up to the 12th pick (11th player chosen) and sacrifice their pick from the Tampa Bay Lightning in the David Savard trade. They also have the fifth overall pick and the Toronto Maple Leafs’ selection at No. 25. Adding three first-rounders and Boqvist is a huge weekend for the franchise.
Boqvist was originally selected eighth overall by the Blackhawks at the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He is a dynamic offensive defenseman who has drawn comparisons to a young Erik Karlsson. He has six goals and 29 points through his first 76 NHL over two seasons.
The 20-year-old has struggled defensively during his young professional career, but he still has huge upside. He progressed well last season after returning from a bout of COVID-19 early on. He started to gain more confidence defensively which led him to play better with the puck. He is a future top power-play unit quarterback, and if he hits his ceiling, he will be a difference-maker for years to come.
It is hard to call a winner of this trade right now, but both sides have to be happy. The Blackhawks got the player they coveted the most this summer, and the Blue Jackets got a good return while avoiding losing another star player for nothing.