The Blackhawks made a blockbuster deal on Friday by acquiring All-Star defenseman Seth Jones, the No. 32 overall pick in 2021 and a sixth-round pick in 2022 from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Adam Boqvist, the No. 12 overall pick in 2021, a second-rounder in 2021 and a first-round selection in 2022 that will become a first-rounder in 2023 if the 2022 pick is in the Top 2.
Jones, 26, has one year remaining on a contract that carries a $5.4 million cap hit. He has reportedly agreed to an eight-year, 76 million extension ($9.5 million cap hit), but it won't be made official until Wednesday when his signing window opens to account for the eighth year.
"I'm thrilled to be able to add someone like Seth Jones to our team," President/GM Stan Bowman said. "He’s an impact defenseman that we’ve been searching for, for quite some time. To finally be able to add him to our group here is a huge move for the whole group. I think it changes the complexion of our defense in particular but our team in general."
Jones registered 28 points (five goals, 23 assists) in 56 games this season for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He also averaged 25:14 of ice time, which ranked fifth among all defensemen.
Jones immediately becomes the Blackhawks' No. 1 defenseman after two-time Norris Trophy winner Duncan Keith was traded to the Edmonton Oilers earlier this offseason.
"We've had a chance to watch Seth emerge in the league as a top defenseman," Bowman said. "He’s one of the few players who can do everything. He plays close to half the game. We love his competitiveness as well as his all-around game. He's got the size and the skating as well as the ability to play those tough minutes against top players.
"Every situation, from the power play to the penalty kill, he’s the guy you want on the ice with a minute to go when you're protecting a lead as well as when you’re down a goal. Those are tough to find. When you get that opportunity to add someone like that, you have to do everything you can to bring him in."
The move also unites Seth with his younger brother Caleb, who was part of the Keith package. The Jones brothers have never played with each other before and have been training together in Dallas.
Seth and Caleb Jones will be officially introduced as members of the Blackhawks on Saturday afternoon during a boat cruise on the Chicago River.
"It’s a great story," Bowman said. "I think sometimes too much is made out of that. Certainly, Caleb had nothing to do with the trade. Maybe he had something to do with telling Seth he should sign with the Blackhawks, I don’t really know that part of it. But we like Caleb, he’s just kind of coming into his own as well.
"We’ve got some young defensemen and he’s going to supplement that group. It’s certainly a great story to have the two of them here. I haven’t talked to them about it but I would imagine it’s probably a neat reality for them to be on the same team."