Once the offseason began for the Columbus Blue Jackets, speculation began on what the team would do in free agency. A lot of speculation fell on which goaltender the Blue Jackets would move. That was until Seth Jones came out and said he would not be re-signing an extension to stay in Columbus.
That puts GM Jarmo Kekalainen in a tough spot. Does he try and heal the relationship with Jones before this upcoming season or does he trade the former 2018 all-star? From the looks of it, it appears Kekalainen is actively shopping the defenseman prior to the NHL Draft on July 23.
The Philadelphia Flyers, Los Angeles Kings and Colorado Avalanche emerged as the early favorites to acquire Jones. The Avalanche was Jones’ hometown team growing up and the Kings have a lot to offer.
Recent reports indicated that Philadelphia and Columbus had a few conversations and even flirted with the idea of trading for Seth Jones. Speculations detailed that Columbus’ asking price was going to be a first or second round pick and two players. One of the two players would be a young offensive player like Travis Konecny and a defensive player like Phil Myers.
Recently, talks have seemed to stall out between the two teams but that doesn’t mean they won’t pick back up.
On July 12, Chicago traded long-time defenseman, Duncan Keith to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Caleb Jones and a third-round draft pick. Caleb Jones, 24, is the younger brother of Seth Jones. With Keith no longer a Blackhawk, they now have a vacant spot at their top defensive pairing. Seth Jones could be a reasonable replacement for Keith and a trade with Chicago wouldn’t be a bad idea for Columbus.
Columbus and Chicago have a history of blockbuster trades in recent years. The first blockbuster trade between the two teams came in 2015. In that deal, Columbus acquired Brandon Saad from the Blackhawks in a seven-player deal.
Two years later, the two teams struck another deal. This time, Saad was dealt back to the Blackhawks in exchange for Artemi Panarin along with some other assets. All in all, the trade involved four players and two draft picks.
One thing is for certain. If Columbus and Chicago come to an agreement on a trade, it could involve multiple pieces if recent history is any indication.
If the trade rumors with Philadelphia are any indication for what Columbus’ asking price is for Jones, Columbus may pursue a young center in either Kirby Dach or Dylan Strome, who are both set to become restricted free agents after the 2021-22 season. Columbus is in need of a top center and Dach or Strome could develop into that role.
The Blue Jackets may also inquire about adding a young defenseman as well. Columbus has the ability to make things even more interesting because of their surplus of draft picks in this year’s draft. Chicago doesn’t have much wiggle room when it comes to cap space. They may look to try and unload some players who will be looking at contract extensions in the near future.
If Columbus were to go through with a trade with the Blackhawks, it may benefit all parties. Columbus could get a good return, Chicago could get their top defenseman and Seth Jones will play alongside his brother.
Cover Image Courtesy of theathletic.com