The Chicago Blackhawks have officially acquired defenseman Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, they sent two first-round draft picks to Columbus. The first-round picks are as follows:

The Chicago Blackhawks traded forward Marcus Kruger to the Columbus Blue Jackets and forwards Brandon Saad and Vinnie Hinostroza to the Arizona Coyotes for defenseman Seth Jones and two first-round picks in this blockbuster trade. The Blackhawks received an immediate boost to their defense, as Jones has a chance to become one of the best defensemen in the NHL, and the Arizona Coyotes will likely use two picks they acquired in the deal on high-end players.

The Chicago Blackhawks have completed a blockbuster deal in an attempt to bolster their roster ahead of the Feb. 26 NHL trade deadline. The Blackhawks sent two first-round draft picks and forward Artemi Panarin to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for forward Seth Jones and a first-round pick at the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. The Blackhawks, who won the Stanley Cup in 2010 and 2015, have been looking to move a salary-cap hit in Jones, who has two years remaining on his current contract after signing a $20-million deal last summer.

For months, there have been whispers that Columbus Blue Jackets defender Seth Jones might be traded. Those rumors became true on Friday.

Jones was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets along with a 2021 first-round pick (32nd overall) and a 2022 sixth-round pick in exchange for defender Adam Boqvist, Chicago’s 2021 first-round selection (12th overall), a 2021 second-round pick, and Chicago’s 2022 first-round pick. Jones was signed to an eight-year contract extension by Chicago after the transaction.

Which GM benefited the most from this deal? For both teams, here are our grades:

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There’s a lot here to unpack.

Let’s take a look at Seth Jones first. He has many critics, particularly in the analytics field. They saw his output decline over the previous three seasons until crashing to the ground with a thud in 2020-21, with a negative-5.8 goals scored above average and having cost the Blue Jackets with his sub-replacement offensive and defensive play.

Granted, the Blue Jackets had a losing season and were playing in a pandemic for the second year in a row. We’ll bet that those performances were unusual, and that Jones, who turns 27 in October, is the Norris Trophy-caliber defender we thought he was in prior seasons. As a defender, he’s nearing the end of his career. He’s a fantastic player, and we haven’t even seen the best of him yet.

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Is a $9.5 million average yearly salary for a Norris Trophy-caliber defender on an eight-year contract beginning in 2022-23 an overpayment? It’s somewhat more than the Norris Trophy winner last season, Nashville Predators defender Roman Josi ($9.059 million AAV). It’s slightly more than Alex Pietrangelo’s contract, which he signed as an unrestricted free agency with Vegas for seven years at $8.8 million AAV. Pietrangelo is 31 years old. That $9.5 million cap hit would have to come from someplace if Jones went on the free market next summer.

Jones will also cost the Blackhawks $5.4 million in the 2021-22 season.

And they paid a high price for it all.

In return for sliding down the draft board by roughly 20 choices in 2021 and a first-round pick in 2022 that isn’t certain to be outside the lottery, GM Stan Bowman received the player the club has coveted for years. Plus, defender Adam Boqvist, the Blackhawks’ most promising blue-line prospect.

With Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews surrounded by younger players, it’s a win-now move. However, Kane will be an unrestricted free agency in 2023. Toews is in the same boat. By the second year of his deal, Seth Jones could be the face of the Blackhawks, guiding the club to its next iteration.

If that’s the case, we may have a different perspective on this transaction and payment.


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Jarmo Kekalainen, the general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, should be writing a flowery “thank you” letter to Buffalo Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams as you read this.

Earlier on Friday, the Sabres traded defender Rasmus Ristolainen to the Philadelphia Flyers for the 13th overall selection, a 2023 second-rounder, and defenseman Robert Hagg, who is the same age as Seth Jones and has the same cap cost. Whatever the price was for Jones, the Flyers package became the bare minimum in exchange for a year of his services.

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• Rankings of the top 50 prospects « • Predictions for the first round of the mock draft » Why Why Owen Power is unquestionably the best « • NHL executives scout the best prospects • Check out the newest crop of top choices » • Slovenian trip of Francesco Pinelli » • Complete list of all 224 choices » Additional NHL and draft-related material

• Rankings of the top 50 prospects « • Predictions for the first round of the mock draft » Why Why Owen Power is unquestionably the best « • NHL executives scout the best prospects • Check out the newest crop of top choices » • Slovenian trip of Francesco Pinelli » • Complete list of all 224 choices » Additional NHL and draft-related material

What. An. Unbelievable. Haul.

Kekalainen had little power other than threatening to relocate Jones to one of his favorite locations, such as Colorado or Dallas, neither of which, for what it’s worth, would have been willing to pay $9.5 million for him. Jones was not going to return. It was impossible to keep him on the Blue Jackets’ roster this season. As a result, he had to leave.

With that in mind, Kekalainen snatched up a veritable gold mine in Chicago. It allows the Jackets to rebuild with those draft choices. It provides the Jackets with the funds to sign their own young star, maybe one who doesn’t want to leave Columbus. Or, at the very least, one who will be employed for a period of time.

This article broadly covered the following related topics:

  • seth jones trade details
  • seth jones stats
  • seth jones contract
  • adam boqvist
  • nhl draft 2021
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