Jones signs eight-year, $76 million extension with Blackhawks

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Seth Jones signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension with the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. It has an average annual value of $9.5 million.

The 26-year-old defenseman was traded to the Blackhawks by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday for Adam Boqvist, a first-round pick (No. 12) and a second-round selection (No. 44) in the 2021 NHL Draft, and a first-round pick in the 2022 or 2023 NHL Draft.

The Blackhawks received a first-round pick (No. 32, originally belonging to the Tampa Bay Lightning) and a sixth-round selection in the 2022 NHL Draft.

If Chicago’s first-round pick in 2022 is one of the top two selections, the Blue Jackets will receive the Blackhawks’ first-round pick in 2023.

Jones has one season remaining on the six-year, $32.4 million contract ($5.4 million annual average value) he signed June 29, 2016. The extension will begin in 2022-23.

Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman said they would not have made the trade for Jones if they didn’t “have confidence that we would be able to extend him.”

“He’s an impact defenseman that we’ve been searching for, for quite some time, and to finally be able to add him to our group here is a huge move for the whole group,” Bowman said. “I think it changes the complexion of our defense in particular, but our team in general.

“We’ve had a chance to watch Seth emerge in the League as a top defenseman. He’s one of the few players who can do everything. He certainly plays close to half the game, we love his competitiveness as well as his all-around game, he’s got the size and the skating as well as the ability to play those tough minutes against top players. Every situation, from the power play to the penalty kill, he’s the guy you want on the ice with a minute to go when you’re protecting a lead as well as when you’re down a goal. Those are tough to find, so when you get that opportunity to add someone like that, you have to do everything you can to bring him in.”

Jones had said he would “weigh every option possible” regarding his ability to become an unrestricted free agent after next season, according to reports.

“He did not want to sign an extension with the Blue Jackets with one year remaining on his contract, so we decided to do the best we could to get the return that we need to continue to grow as a franchise,” Columbus president of hockey operations John Davidson told ESPN. “Seth’s a great guy, he’s a great player, he had every right in the world to do what he did, and I don’t hold [anything] against him one bit. I know he loves this place, but he made a decision personally and professionally for himself. With us, we spent days and days trying to put a deal together.” 

Jones has scored 223 points (50 goals, 173 assists) in 381 NHL games since the Blue Jackets acquired him in a trade with the Nashville Predators for center Ryan Johansen on Jan. 6, 2016. Jones scored 28 points (five goals, 23 assists) in 56 games this season, when Columbus (18-26-12) tied the Detroit Red Wings for last place in the eight-team Discover Central Division and missed the Stanley Cup Playoffs for the first time in five seasons.

The No. 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Jones has scored 286 points (65 goals, 221 assists) in 580 regular-season games with the Predators and Blue Jackets and 24 points (five goals, 19 assists) in 37 playoff games.

Jones joins his brother in Chicago; defenseman Caleb Jones was traded to the Blackhawks by the Edmonton Oilers on July 12 as part of the deal for defenseman Duncan Keith.

The Blackhawks also acquired goalie Marc-Andre Fleury in a trade from the Vegas Golden Knights on Tuesday and forward Tyler Johnson in a trade from the Tampa Bay Lightning the same day.

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