Done with Columbus
What direction will the Columbus Blue Jackets take after Seth Jones tells the team he won’t re-sign?
On His Way Out of Columbus
Seth Jones tells Columbus he won’t re-sign with the team: After the Columbus Blue Jackets’ miserable season concluded, the team was informed by superstar defenseman Seth Jones that he does not intend to sign a new long-term contract extension with the team. This is a massive blow to a Columbus team that in the past few years has overachieved in the playoffs with first round upsets over the Tampa Bay Lightning and Toronto Maple Leafs, respectively. Many pundits saw this Blue Jackets team as an up-and-coming club with many solid pieces to build around, Seth Jones, being the centerpiece of that plan. However, with a disappointing season over and one in which Jones registered only 28 points in 56 games to go along with a woeful -18 rating, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that Jones is looking to take the next step in his career with a perennial winner.
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What impact will this have on the rest of the team? The ramifications of Seth Jones publicly letting it be known that he will not re-sign with Columbus long-term cannot be understated. It may hamper Columbus’ ability to attract big-name free agents and it will also make their goalies’ jobs that much harder knowing they won’t have the presence and ability of a Seth Jones playing in front of them. But perhaps the biggest impact this decision will have on the team lies with Jones’ playing partner, Zach Werenski. Werenski’s contract is due to expire at the end of the 2021-2022 season and he may now have second thoughts about re-signing with Columbus knowing that Jones won’t be his playing partner and that Columbus may have some tough, re-building years ahead. Lastly, this departure will leave a gaping hole on the backend for the Blue Jackets. If Jones is dealt soon, this would leave the Blue Jackets with an extremely thin blueline, as they also dealt away veteran defensive stalwart, David Savard, to the Lightning earlier at the trade deadline.
What do the Blue Jackets do with Seth Jones? Perhaps, the saving grace in all of this is that Seth Jones was gracious enough to inform the team of his desire to leave at the end of his contract, which expires at the end of the 2021-2022 season. We’ve seen countless superstars leave their former team hanging until the very end only to leave their old team with nothing to show for them signing with another team (John Tavares is probably the most notable name to have done this to his former team).
But, with a year left on his contract, this gives the Blue Jackets some time to find a suitable trade partner. It would not be wise to keep Jones on the roster until his contract runs out as they would end up in the same situation as Tavares’ old team, the Islanders. This summer, look for the Blue Jackets to actively shop Seth Jones around and don’t be surprised to see him traded at or even before the NHL Draft takes place on July 23. Simply put, the Blue Jackets cannot afford to get nothing in return for Seth Jones and he should fetch the Blue Jackets a very good return if he is dealt this summer.
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A Question for the Peanut Gallery
What kind of return via trade would you expect Seth Jones to get for the Columbus Blue Jackets?