According to Elliotte Friedman on Saturday Headlines, defenseman Seth Jones is not interested in re-signing with Columbus.
“Sometime in the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing," said Friedman. "You 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 while.”
“Sometime in the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing."– Elliotte Friedman, on Hockey Night in Canada
Jones will be a free agent after the conclusion of next season, and this news is a tough blow. The defenseman was thought to have been in line for the Blue Jackets' captaincy, but now it appears that will no longer be the case. However, if you're the Blue Jackets' front office, you now have more time to decide what the next steps are.
With this news, the Blue Jackets should be looking for trade partners immediately, to get the most return for Jones. A lot of teams need a top-pair, right-handed defenseman, so there will be an excellent market for him. In return, the Blue Jackets should be looking for a high-end, playmaking center (hello, Jack Eichel). They're thin down the middle of the ice, which has been a theme in recent years.
Jones being eager to leave continues a trend in Columbus, and it's not a good one. In recent years, the Blue Jackets have struggled to hang on to their stars. It's a list that includes Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky, Matt Duchene, Pierre-Luc Dubois (in slightly different circumstances), and now, most likely, Jones. The Dubois trade is a model that the front office can use as they determine what to do moving forward. Dubois didn't want to be in Columbus, so the Blue Jackets moved quickly and got a fairly solid return in Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.
John Davidson is back for his second stint as President of Hockey Operations with the Blue Jackets, and he said that one of the most important things for him to do was to emphasize the many great things about Columbus and make it an attractive destination for free agents. However, if stars continue to leave, that'll be an incredibly tough job for Davidson and the rest of the front office.
Video credit: @specmenceCBJ