Does a Seth Jones Trade Make Sense for the Chicago Blackhawks?

There has been plenty of chatter surrounding young defenceman Seth Jones over the past few weeks. The 26-year-old blueliner is one of the better defenceman targets for trade this offseason. One of the suspected front runners for his services is Stan Bowman’s Chicago Blackhawks. As the past few seasons have proven, they are still lacking a truly elite top-pairing defenceman. Coming off of a year with as much youth development as they had, bringing in an elite veteran defenceman could elevate their game on the backend. Enter Seth Jones. Jones is a solid offensive quarterback with many questions to his defensive game. However, for the Blackhawks, his upside might be enough to outweigh any concern of his defensive liabilities. Today we’re going to look at whether a Seth Jones trade makes sense for Chicago.

Does a Seth Jones Trade Make Sense for Chicago?

Last Season’s Preformance

The Columbus Blue Jackets blueliner is coming off of a pretty mediocre season. In 56 games he scored 28 points, a full season pace of 41 points. A 40-point defenceman isn’t a bad thing to have, and Seth Jones has really great offensive weaponry to his game. He can quarterback a power play really well, facilitate a clean offensive entry, and create good scoring chances easily. The question lies on the rest of his game, namely, his defensive responsibility. It’s great to have an elite power play quarterback, especially for a Blackhawks power play that was questionable down the stretch. However if thats all a player brings to the table, is it worth the potential investment a trade might bring?

Trade Price for Seth Jones

Jones is a proven top pairing player. Regardless of his defensive frailties, regardless of who his partner was in Columbus, the guy can play a top pairing game under the right system. With that being said, the leagues salary cap is going to be flat for at least two, maybe three more seasons. Jones is going to be a free agent next July and will likely be looking to sign a long term deal that gives him job security, and probably a raise in pay from his $5.4 million dollar contract he is currently under. All of this must be taken into consideration if Chicago is to make a splash and offer a trade to Columbus this summer.

Jones’ name and previous success might be a driving factor in his trade price. Likely, he will fetch a young roster defenceman, an NHL ready prospect, a mid-round draft pick, and another prospect. Keep in mind that Jones is a free agent in July of 2022 and will want some sort of big raise in pay when he signs a contract for that season. Chicago has a few ways to handle this asking price, and none of them are particularly favorable to the young core they’ve been building.

Trade 1

20-year-old Adam Boqvist will likely have to go towards Columbus if this deal is to go through. A third rounder in 2022 and prospect Chad Krys will be added too. In return the Blackhawks would get Jones and possibly a draft pick, ideally one of Columbus’ fourth-to-sixth rounders in 2022. (Chicago is currently missing its fifth round pick in that class).

On the surface this seems like a trade Chicago might decline to make, but Jones is an answer to a big question in Chicago. Yes, losing Boqvist and Krys is a heavy price to pay for Jones, but he brings a bigger offensive game. Seth Jones would be the main piece going back to Chicago and would eat up power play time and top pairing minutes. The draft pick would be an equivalent compensation for giving up a prospect like Krys.

Trade 2

This trade might seem like a long shot, but hot takes are fun to discuss. In return for Seth Jones and forward Max Domi, Chicago would send Dylan Strome and Ian Mitchell to the Blue Jackets. Columbus would throw in a third round draft pick and maybe one more late round pick as well. Once again the Blackhawks are giving up a roster defenceman and a roster forward to fill the gaps that Columbus would have after the trade. The two picks from Columbus would likely be a make-up for Chicago giving up two young valuable players that each have high ceilings and expansive playing styles.

The Reality of the Situation

Much like many players before him, Jones will seek out a hefty extension with whatever team he signs with for the 2022-23 season. Although, if he gets traded to Chicago, Stan Bowman might not see him as a future asset for the team. Does losing a player like Boqvist or Mitchell, and potentially major draft stock, make sense for an expensive rental in the second year of a rebuild? Similarly, are there cheaper options in free agency or via trade for Chicago? These questions will be what the decision to trade for Jones boils down to. If Stan decides to pursue a free agent blueliner, say Dougie Hamilton or Alec Martinez, does that route provide more cap flexibility for them? Whoever Bowman goes after will have big shoes to fill, and a Stanley Cup winning legacy to restore in the Windy City.

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