SECAUCUS, N.J. — The Chicago Blackhawks were in the market for a big-ticket defenseman, and they landed one in a blockbuster draft-night trade Friday, acquiring four-time All-Star Seth Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Adam Boqvist.
Jones agreed to terms on an eight-year, $76 million extension with the Hawks, which he can’t sign until the start of free agency Wednesday.
The deal also cost the Hawks 20 spots in Friday night’s first round as they swapped picks with the Blue Jackets, dropping from No. 12 to No. 32.
The Blue Jackets also received a 2021 second-round pick, which they promptly dealt to the Carolina Hurricanes for defenseman Jake Bean, and a conditional first-round pick in 2022. It becomes a 2023 first-rounder if the ‘22 pick ends up being No. 1 or No. 2.
Earlier this month, the Hawks acquired Jones’ younger brother, Caleb Jones, in a trade that sent longtime Hawks defenseman Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers to be closer to his son in Penticton, British Columbia.
Seth Jones, a 26-year-old Texas native and son of former NBA forward Popeye Jones, led Blue Jackets defenseman this past season with 28 points (five goals and 23 assists). He made the NHL’s second All-Star team in 2017-18 after setting career highs in goals (16), assists (41) and points (57) with the Blue Jackets, and he played in four consecutive All-Star Games from 2017 to 2020.
Jones played his first 2 1/2 seasons with the Nashville Predators, who drafted him with the No. 4 pick in 2013. They traded him to the Blue Jackets in January 2016 for center Ryan Johansen.
The 6-foot-4, 213-pound Jones represents a size upgrade over the 5-11, 179-pound Boqvist. The question will be whether the Hawks gave up too soon on Boqvist, whom they took with the No. 8 pick in 2018 and who turns 21 next month.
Coach Jeremy Colliton called out Boqvist for his lack of conditioning but also praised him as his defense quietly began to catch up to his offense. Boqvist scored six goals and had 23 assists in 76 regular-season games over two seasons with the Hawks.
Jones, on the other hand, has to validate president of hockey operations and general manager Stan Bowman’s faith that he’s worth investing $9.5 million of the Hawks’ salary cap annually.
Some of Jones’ production has been on a slight downward trend since 2017-18, including his shooting percentage (3.5% last season), while his on-ice goals against at even strength per 60 minutes has been over three twice in the last three seasons, including 3.1 last season, according to hockey-reference.com. It was 2.3 in 2017-18.
He was one of the best players on a Columbus team that finished last in the Central Division, but his looming free agency next summer caused the Blue Jackets to move him.
The extension he signed with the Hawks avoids that situation and locks up their chosen No. 1 defenseman through 2029-30.©2021 Chicago Tribune. Visit at chicagotribune.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.