Seth Jones is one of the NHL’s premier defensemen, but he won’t be in Columbus for the long haul.
The Blue Jackets blueliner is a free agent after next season, and he plans to test the market, according to SportsNet’s Elliotte Friedman.
“We can tell you that sometime in the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing,” Friedman reported Saturday during “Hockey Night in Canada”. “Now I’m saying for now at this point because I don’t like to deal in absolutes, but it does appear as if he is prepared to test free agency and we’ll see how Columbus decides to handle this over the next little while.”
This does put the Blue Jackets in an interesting spot. Columbus is coming off a brutal season that was mired in controversy, and it currently is looking for its next head coach after the departure of John Tortorella.
Unless the Blue Jackets are confident they can get Jones to change his mind, then they would be well-advised to trade him. He has a cap hit of $5.4 million, with a modified no-trade clause that allows him to submit a list of 10 teams he can’t be traded to.
There are a number of useful defensemen set to hit the open market this offseason, but outside of Dougie Hamilton, not many possess the high-end skill Jones does. For that reason, the market for him might be robust if Columbus chooses to move him.
Time will tell, as these reports are fresh. But Jones’ name could be the next one in a long line of Blue Jackets looking for a way out.