This is merely an appreciation.
For the Blue Jackets, who collaborated with the Nashville Predators on one of the more mutually-beneficial trades we've seen in a while. Ryan Johansen, on the verge of becoming a star, was sent to Nashville for Seth Jones, on the verge of becoming a star.
It's one of those deals you can't really nit-pick. Things worked out.
And a year later, the Blue Jackets had to make sure they kept Jones (a pending restricted free agent) in the fold. Not only did they make it happen, they did so with a team-friendly deal that's looking more and more like one of the better signings of the last few years. Jones, who was 22 at the time, signed a six-year deal with the Blue Jackets worth a total of $32.4 million, or $5.4 million against the salary cap each season.
Jones had 42 points (12 goals, 30 assists) in 2016-17, which was a breakout for both he and new defense partner, Zach Werenski.
The next year, though, was a totally different level.
Jones scored 16 goals in 2017-18 – a total bested by only three players – and totaled 57 points, good for second-most points on the Blue Jackets behind some guy named Artemi Panarin.
He made $5.4 million last season. And he'll make $5.4 million each season through 2022. Thank your general manager, Blue Jackets fans.
His teammates are noticing, too (via FOX Sports Ohio):
For comparison's sake, CapFriendly allows us to filter players with similar production, age and contract status. Jones' comparables are:
- Hampus Lindholm (ANA)
- Rasmus Ristolainen (BUF)
- Morgan Rielly (TOR)
- Dougie Hamilton (CAR)
Of that group, Hamilton is Jones' closest competition (he was tied for the league lead in goals by a defenseman last year with 17) – and beyond Hamilton, you'd be hard-pressed to find a coach or GM in the NHL that wouldn't take Jones over any of the others.
Listen, Erik Karlsson is one hell of a player. Probably the best defenseman in the game. But every time we hear about him potentially making $11 million per season like Kings defenseman Drew Doughty now does, I can't help but remember that Jones makes exactly one half of that number.
I know, I know. At this trajectory, Jones won't be a bargain forever. But until 2022 rolls around, let's appreciate that the Blue Jackets have one of the best defensemen in the game signed to an incredibly reasonable contract.
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