When Seth Jones signed an eight-year extension with the Blackhawks in July of 2021, he probably didn't think a full-blown rebuild would be on the horizon less than one year later. At the time, Chicago's trajectory appeared to be back on the upswing but that's clearly no longer the case under new management.
So you can imagine what his reaction might have been when the Blackhawks traded Kirby Dach and Alex DeBrincat and moved on from Dominik Kubalik and Dylan Strome over the summer.
"It was a little frustrating to see that at first," Jones said. "It's not really what I or anybody had in mind, looking back a couple years. But it is what it is. It's going to make a lot of us better in here. We'll be patient with each other and help each other through this."
Despite the Blackhawks embarking on a rebuild that could take five or so years, Jones unfortunately doesn't really have a choice but to accept where things are at. He knows that, and he sounded like someone who has shifted his mindset from denial to embracing his role within the rebuild.
"I don't have any regrets from my decision," Jones said. "I look at it as an opportunity to become a better player, which I need to do. Score goals, be more offensive, be better defensively and be a key piece to this team moving forward."
With Jones locked up with the team for a while, head coach Luke Richardson is going to lean on him throughout the rebuilding process and give him a larger leadership role. It wouldn't be anything new for Jones, wore an "A" for a few years in Columbus and probably will for the Blackhawks moving forward.
"We talked a little bit about that, just taking a step forward in the leadership role," Richardson said. "I think last year, coming in, you have to feel it out and maybe trying to pass pucks a little too much to [Patrick] Kane and DeBrincat on the power play instead of shooting the puck when he has the opportunity. So we talked a little bit about that as well, just taking a step forward and being a presence. He grew up in a pro household, a pro-style life, so I think he has that ability to do that."