The Chicago Blackhawks have acquired defenseman Seth Jones, a 2021 1st round pick (32nd overall) and a 2022 6th round pick from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for defenseman Adam Boqvist, a 2021 1st round pick (11th overall), a 2021 2nd round pick (44th overall) and a conditional, lottery protected 2022 1st round draft pick. The Blue Jackets then flipped the 44th overall selection to the Carolina Hurricanes in exchange for defenseman Jake Bean.
There is a lot to break down here. There’s even more considering the Blackhawks have reportedly agreed to an extension with Jones for eight years with a $9.5 million cap hit. Jones is a complicated player to assess. Analytics hate him, while the eye-test says the opposite. The truth is that Jones is a good top-pairing defenseman, but not elite, and had a really bad 2020-21 season. To pay as much as they did after the year he just had is confusing for Chicago. They are also paying him like a Norris-winner. Jones is not that kind of guy. He was one year away from free agency and will have a $5.4 million cap hit in 2021-22. Extending him makes sense when they are giving all that up. Boqvist is a blue-chip defensive prospect with NHL experience. They moved back 20 picks, which in the first round means a lot. They also traded away a second-rounder that could’ve been traded for a promising young defenseman, and a first-rounder that could end up being high in overall next year. This is a very risky bet for Chicago with low odds to pay off. Still, they do keep a first-round pick. They selected defenseman Nolan Allan with the final pick of the round.
Jones, 26, scored five goals with 23 assists for 28 points in 56 games for the Blue Jackets in 2020-21. In his NHL career for the Blue Jackets and Nashville Predators, Jones has scored 65 goals with 221 assists for 286 points in 580 games.
This is an absolute home run for Columbus on the value side. However, it is a bit concerning that all their stars keep leaving. But if you look at the pure value, it is hard not to like. Boqvist is a young defenseman who was drafted 8th overall in 2018. He has not played much in the NHL, but he has shown flashes of offensive potential. He is entering the final year of his entry-level deal. Plus, they move up 20 slots (after Arizona forfeited their selection) and picked Cole Sillinger 12th overall (eleventh player selected, the terminology is weird with the forfeiture). Will Sillinger be better than Allan? We don’t know. But his stock is much higher as of now. They are able to add a first that could be very high for next year. Then, they flip the second to Carolina. They have the draft picks, so why not take a high-risk, high-reward bet? Bean was selected 13th overall in 2016 but has had trouble cracking a deep Carolina defense. He played in limited time for them this past year. He definitely has potential. The Hurricanes were not looking to pay the RFA Bean and figured that they would ship him off instead. The value for a first-round pick from five years ago who has struggled is about right.
Boqvist, who will be 21 next season, scored two goals with 14 assists for 16 points in 35 games for Chicago in 2020-21. In his NHL career, all for the Blackhawks, Boqvist has scored six goals with 23 assists for 29 points in 76 games.
Bean, 23, scored one goal with 11 assists for 12 points in 42 games for the Hurricanes in 2020-21. He has just two extra games to add to his NHL career. He did not record a point in either of them.