The big NHL news over the weekend was the revelation that star defenseman Seth Jones wants out of Columbus. He has one year remaining on his contract and has reportedly told the team he’s going to test the free agent market when the deal expires in the summer of 2022.
Of course Blackhawks fans want him. The opportunity to go get a legit No. 1 defenseman is rare, and Jones fits that profile.
The money question is: do the Blackhawks have the assets to make a deal for a superstar defenseman to lead the next generation on Chicago’s blue line?
Chicago has invested heavily in the blue line in recent years. Between 2017-19, five of the Hawks’ top six overall picks were defensemen: Henri Jokiharju and Ian Mitchell (2017), Adam Boqvist and Nicolas Beaudin (2018) and Alex Vlasic (2019). Because of these draft picks, free agent signings (see Wyatt Kalynuk) and veteran acquisitions, the Hawks already have a crowded blue line.
But the Hawks could deal from that depth.
Columbus would likely want young forwards in the deal, however. And Dylan Strome isn’t likely going to be enough to get a deal done. Strome has one year remaining on his current deal with a $3M cap hit but is RFA after the ’22 season, so Columbus would at least have some control of Strome if he was part of the deal.
So let’s throw together a hypothetical package that might intrigue the Blue Jackets.
What if the deal looked like this:
- Chicago receives: Seth Jones
- Columbus receives: Dylan Strome, Mackenzie Entwistle, Matej Chalupa, Nicolas Beaudin, Chicago’s #1 pick in 2021 and Vegas’ #2 pick in 2021.
Would that be enough to make a deal happen? Would Columbus answer the phone for that offer?