Just hours before the 2021 NHL Draft kicked off, the Chicago Blackhawks made a massive trade with the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blackhawks acquired defenseman Seth Jones from the Blue Jackets for a slew of draft picks and defenseman Adam Boqvist.
Jones’ name has been in trade rumors all offseason thus far. Rumblings of a Blackhawks/Blue Jackets deal for Jones picked up steam on Thursday, with the teams completing the trade just before the NHL Draft began.
The Blackhawks ultimately swapped first-round picks in 2021 (No. 12 for No. 32) and sent a 2021 second-round and 2022 first-round pick to Columbus with young defenseman Adam Boqvist. Boqvist was the Blackhawks initial first-round selection in 2018 (No. 8 overall) along with defenseman Nicolas Beaudin (No. 27 overall).
Aside from acquiring Jones, the Blackhawks also acquired a sixth-round pick while swapping 2021 firsts as previously mentioned.
In addition, Jones signed an eight-year contract extension reportedly worth $9.5 million per season. He can officially sign the extension as of July 28.
Per Puck Pedia, the deal is also expected to include a full no-movement clause as well.
Let’s break down the trade. Sure, there are plenty of reports regarding Jones’ underlying numbers and the decline in said numbers. However, I still fully believe Jones can be a number one defenseman for Chicago. That said, there are some things I like and dislike about the deal. Let’s break it down by point of the likes and dislikes.
Like: Jones Addresses a Need
Jones addresses the Blackhawks need for a legitimate number one defenseman. Jones is only 26 years old (will turn 27 in October) and can play big minutes, contribute offensively, and play solid defense. Especially after dealing Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers, the Blackhawks need a minutes eater other than just Connor Murphy.
Jones also provides another veteran presence on the Blackhawks blue line. Both he and Murphy are still young, but both proven veterans in the NHL that will provide guidance for the younger defensemen the Blackhawks have in the system such as Nicolas Beaudin, Ian Mitchell, and Wyatt Kalynuk, among others.
Dislike: TWO First-Round Picks?
Unfortunately, the Blackhawks not only sent the No. 12 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft to the Blue Jackets, but they also sent their 2022 first-round pick as well. Personally, I could have lived with 2022 pick if the Blackhawks could have sat at No. 12 in this draft. However, the Blackhawks still managed a first-round pick in the trade (No. 32), but two firsts felt like a lot given Columbus’s lack of leverage.
Ideally, the trade would have been one first-round pick, Boqvist, and the 2021 second-round pick. Even if the Blackhawks only received the sixth-round pick from Columbus with Jones, it still would have felt better given the fact they moved 21 picks back in the first round, which is a larger talent gap than most think.
Like: Jones Signs an Extension
The fact that Jones signed an extension was massive for this trade. Without an extension, Jones was essentially a rental and would not have warranted the price tag he ultimately cost the Blackhawks. However, if he wasn’t going to sign it was probably a no-go anyway. Nonetheless, he’s in Chicago for awhile.
Dislike: THAT EXTENSION
Why do I dislike the extension? Well, for starters, I don’t think the money is awful. Truthfully I think as the cap rises it will age fine. Still, a full no-movement clause for the WHOLE CONTRACT? That is something that is a little tough to swallow, especially considering the Blackhawks just shed a hefty salary cap hit with two large defensemen contracts coming off the books (Keith and Brent Seabrook).
If the NMC was for say the first four years, that feels reasonable. However, nine years of Seth Jones (he still has one year left on his current deal) is a long time. If he doesn’t age well, this could become a Brent Seabrook 2.0 contract.
Like: The Brothers
In the Duncan Keith trade, the Blackhawks acquired defenseman Caleb Jones from the Oilers. For those that didn’t know, Caleb is Seth’s younger brother. Now that the Seth is in Chicago as well, he and his brother might not only play on the same team, but could see time as a pairing together in Chicago.
Perhaps Seth can be a good influence for Caleb and help his younger brother flourish in Chicago. Nonetheless, we love the family ties. Get us Colton Dach in the NHL Draft and Chicago truly becomes a family affair.
This trade is not only complex, but has a lot of moving pieces. Seth Jones could prove to be exactly what the Blackhawks need. On the other hand, he could also become a player that fans complain about for years to come because of the new extension he signed as a part of the trade. Either way, the Jones trade shook the hockey world and could either make or break the Blackhawks for years to come.