Seth Jones Needs To Be A Chicago Blackhawk, And Here's Why....

May 22, 2023  (11:25 PM)

Last off season, Stan Bowman tried to roll the dice and attempt to get back into the playoffs by making some trades that a win-now team would make. Seth Jones, a 2021 1st round pick, and a 2022 6th round pick were acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Adam Boqvist, 2021 1st round pick, 2021 2nd round pick, and a conditional 2022 1st round pick. Jones was then immediately signed to an 8-year, $9.5 million dollar contract extension. There is a lot to unpack here. The contract extension was massive, and the Blackhawks mortgaged their future to get Jones. With the rebuild underway, the trade has left a sour taste in many Blackhawks fans' mouths. However, after just one season in Chicago, Jones has proved that the trade may not be as bad as it previously appeared to be. Seth Jones needs to be a Chicago Blackhawk, and here is why.

Seth Jones is an established NHL player who has played in some of the biggest situations. Just like Duncan Keith during his Chicago tenure, Jones is capable of leading his team in ice-time on any given night. Jones led the Blackhawks in ice-time per game this season, averaging 26:15 on a nightly basis. Jones famously shattered the time on ice in a single game record in the 2020 playoffs, logging a staggering 65 minutes and 6 seconds. There is no denying that the Blackhawks are about to be one of the youngest teams in the league once the season begins with more rookies from Rockford making their debuts. With multiple young defensive prospects projected to crack the opening night lineup, having a guy steady, proven defenseman like Jones on the ice is extremely valuable. He is a locker room leader and is not afraid to take the blame for a bad performance. Many believe that Jones was on his way to becoming the next «Captain» of the Blue Jackets before they decided to tear it all down and start fresh. With all the questions surrounding what will happen with Jonathan Toews, it is highly likely that Jones will be at least wearing a letter in Chicago soon, maybe even the «C» on his jersey. With the rebuild underway, it is important to have guys like Jones in the room, mentoring, leading by example, and calming the storm.
Seth Jones's stats do not tell the full story of his career. When you look at his career numbers, you will see a glaring +/- 62, however, most of that damage occurred over the past two seasons (+/- 55). Before being traded, the Columbus Blue Jackets were not a good team. They had traded some of their biggest pieces for prospects and draft capital, just waiting to find a suitor for Jones. Columbus finished last in the Central Division during the Covid shortened season with a record of 18-26-12. While the Blackhawks this past season were supposed to be a contender, they were not. While there were a few bright spots, the season was a disaster. The lack of a solid defensive system, the dreadful start, and numerous injuries plagued the Blackhawks, and impacted nearly all the players on the roster in a negative way. Being a defenseman on a bad team is not easy.
In 5 out of his first 10 seasons in the NHL, Jones finished with a positive +/-. Jones was also in contention for the Norris Trophy from 2016 to 2020, finishing 2nd overall in voting in 2016-17. This past season, Jones also tallied 51 points, his highest marker since 2017-2018. There is no denying that Seth Jones stabilizes the defense. As the season went along, and after Colliton was fired, Jones got better. In an ideal world, the next head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks will be of a defensive background. If a new coach can come in and implement a system defensively that you see elite teams like Colorado, Florida, and Tampa Bay use, Jones could ultimately prove that he is worth the extension.
Seth Jones plays a full 200-foot game. He has a great ability to pass the puck, a hell of a shot, high hockey IQ, and the ability to get back on defense to help stop odd man rushes. Those skills and abilities are what teams salivate over when looking for defensemen to man their blue line. Jones has also proven to thrive in winning environments. When Columbus were playoff contenders, Jones never posted a negative +/- number, leading his team in minutes and leading all defensemen on the roster in scoring along the way. You can say all you want about the trade. In hindsight, was it a bad move? Yes, it was. Is the extension on the higher end? Yes, it is. However, you cannot go back in time and change it. Jones has proven in the past to be a GREAT defenseman. His offensive stats paint the picture perfectly of the type of player he can be. His defensive stats are heavily bogged down by two bad seasons in a 10-year career, playing for two historically bad teams. The salary cap is also not going to stay the same forever. The Blackhawks will be in the top 10 in the NHL in terms of cap space in the coming seasons. The salary cap will begin to increase again, and NHL defensemen will begin making as much as Seth Jones in the next few seasons.
His leadership, skillset, and proven track record is why Seth Jones should be in Chicago. If the Blackhawks keep to the current path they are on and commit to a rebuild, Jones, Kane, and DeBrincat are going to be the major pieces to ring in the next great era of Chicago hockey. Be patient. Seth Jones will turn it around like he always has. He is worth it and the Hawks will be better by having him here, playing his heart out every single night.
22 MAI   |   124 ANSWERS
Seth Jones Needs To Be A Chicago Blackhawk, And Here's Why....

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