Over the course of the next month, Chicago Hockey Now will be profiling every Chicago Blackhawks player from the 2022-23 season. Today, will be defenseman Seth Jones.
Games Played: 72
(Goals – Assists – Points): 12-25-37
Contract Status: 7 seasons remaining; $9.5M AAV
The Short View
Jones potted 12 goals in 2023-24, tying the second highest mark of his career. His point total fell by 14 but the team was iced to do exactly what it did–lose a lot and position itself for a premier pick. They achieved it and along with many who will return, they will benefit in the long run.
Called an “impact defenseman” when he was acquired, Chicago gave up a hefty amount to acquire Jones when they thought they were still in the contender conversation. It turned out to not be the case and Jones was back in a rebuild. But that all changed which will not only alter the fortune of the franchise, but will likely put Jones and his numbers back into a position to be considered impactful again.
The Long View
Jones is here for the long haul, inking an eight-year deal starting this season at $9.5M AAV of cap space. That’s hardly an issue right now. But it’s likely that Jones has another good four-five seasons left playing at the level he’s very capable of. Toss in the lottery win with Connor Bedard, prospect Kevin Korchinski likely joining soon, and suddenly, Jones is playing on a much different–and better–version of the team.
Jones scored 12 goals in a season where the Blackhawks were dead last in scoring. That’s likely the most positive sign any fan and coach wants to see. His 37 points were a drop from the previous season, but so too was the talent level on the team. Unless the Blackhawks don’t see Jones as a fit any longer, he’s likely to be an even important piece now in the rebuild. A no-movement clause complicates any attempt at a trade, but that doesn’t seem practical anyway. Dealing a contract with an AAV of $9.5M would include a sweetener.
Instead, winning the lottery may organically solve any concerns they even had.
Jones will be counted onto help lead the younger Blackhawks as the team infuses the roster with more of its top level talent. He’s been on winning cultures before and will be crucial in infusing those lessons into the new nucleus that general manager Kyle Davidson is cobbling together.
It’s come full circle. Now Jones can be the impact defenseman the Blackhawks envisioned–and then some.
The Bottom Line
If there was any one Blackhawks player cheering the recent lottery luck, it had to have been Jones. Moved to Chicago from Columbus, Jones went from one rebuild to another one starting. With Bedard in the mix, now there’s a chance Jones’ fortunes turn along with Chicago’s.
No longer will he toil on a team that gets scored on in high clips. He won’t have to be answering the same tired questions night in and night out. Now, he may not only see an uptick in team wins, but also in his production as well.
The next seven years in Chicago likely look better than they did a few days ago. Jones is only 28. He still has a lot of gas left in the tank. With a team likelier to begin building a bit quicker to acquire more talent, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Jones could be the defenseman Chicago envisioned when the acquired him. The 57 point season (16-41) back in 2017-18 might very well be possible again.
Sure, they won’t win the Cup next season and are likely a few more years from a playoff run. But the outlook just got a whole lot brighter for Jones and the Blackhawks.