It's not often that trades in the NHL work out well for both parties.
But since 2016, when the Blue Jackets acquired defenseman Seth Jones from the Nashville Predators in exchange for center Ryan Johansen, one could certainly argue that it benefitted both teams significantly. They even bumped into each other at the airport to exchange pleasantries.
Nashville had a plethora of defensemen, and the Blue Jackets desperately needed blue-line help. The Predators needed a No. 1 center, and they got their guy in Johansen.
Since that trade, Jones has been nothing short of outstanding for the Blue Jackets. He's a reliable quarterback on the power play, incredibly strong with the puck, and his hockey IQ is off the charts.
In 269 games with Columbus, Jones has registered 39 goals and 126 assists for a total of 165 points — 0.61 points per game. He's also averaging 24:35 of ice time each game since joining the Blue Jackets.
In Game 2 against the Bruins in this year's edition of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jones had perhaps the best game of his career thus far. Jones notched 38:01 of ice time and won physical battles all night.
Seth Jones played 38:01 tonight. Two assists. Five hits. Three blocks. Terrific play to keep the puck in leading to Matt Duchene's winning PPG. Excellent defense. Pucks in. Pucks out. Battles won. Monster night from Jones.— Dan Rosen (@drosennhl) April 28, 2019
John Buccigross was quick to heap praise on Jones as well.
Seth Jones might be the best defenseman in the NHL. Checks every box. Strong both ways, physical, composed, shot, power play QB, size, skating, responsible. A tower for Columbus.— Bucci Mane (@Buccigross) April 28, 2019
With those 269 games for the Blue Jackets and 199 for Nashville, Jones is sitting on 468 career games heading into the 2019-20 NHL campaign. If he plays in just 32 of the Blue Jackets' 82 games next season, he'll hit 500 — an outstanding achievement.
Led by Jones, the Blue Jackets defensive corps will be a force to be reckoned with next season.
It's hard to not be bullish on the promising future of the Blue Jackets' young blue line. Jones and Zach Werenski make a formidable pairing, and the depth behind them is outstanding.
Jones is well on his way to a Norris Trophy, and it's hard to make a case against the stalwart defenseman.