Jones wont face Blue Jackets for first time with Blackhawks

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Seth Jones did not play against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, on Tuesday after the Chicago Blackhawks defenseman was placed in COVID-19 protocol.

It would have been his first game against Columbus since he was traded to Chicago on July 23.

The defenseman participated in the morning skate but left early and did not speak to the media. He had not missed a game this season.

Jones played the previous six seasons for Columbus, scoring 223 points (50 goals, 173 assists) in 381 regular-season games. He helped the Blue Jackets qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs in four seasons and scored 20 points (five goals, 15 assists) in 31 postseason games.

Jones, selected by the Nashville Predators with the No. 4 pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, was traded to Columbus for forward Ryan Johansen on Jan. 6, 2016.

Jones has scored 311 points (68 goals, 243 assists) in 615 NHL games. He was traded to the Blackhawks after Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson told ESPN that Jones did not want to re-sign with Columbus before possibly becoming an unrestricted free agent.

The Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Adam Boqvist, a first-round pick and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, and a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft or 2023 NHL Draft.

Five days after the trade, Jones signed an eight-year, $76 million contract extension ($9.5 million average annual value) with Chicago that begins next season.

He has scored 25 points (three goals, 22 assists) in 35 games this season.

Columbus defenseman Zach Werenski, who was Jones’ defense partner for five seasons, said they’ve remained good friends and he learned a lot from him.

“On the ice, unless you watch him every day and see him in practice, see him in games, I don’t think a lot [of people] appreciate the game he plays,” Werenski said. “The way he can control a game, slow things down, take over games when he wants to. Whether something good happens or bad happens, in his mind he always stays the same, never too high or too low.

“As a young guy, he was the perfect partner to have, with how talented he is and how he handled himself, on the ice or off the ice. Everyone had a ton of respect for the things he does on the ice and how he acts off it.”

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