Blue Jackets Star Seth Jones Reportedly Informed Team He Won't Re-Sign in Free Agency

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVMay 30, 2021

COLUMBUS, OH - MAY 08: Seth Jones #3 of the Columbus Blue Jackets passes the puck during the game between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Detroit Red Wings at Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio on May 8, 2021. (Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones has reportedly informed the team he plans to leave once he hits free agency in 2022. 

"We can tell you that sometime in the last week or so, Seth Jones informed the Columbus Blue Jackets that he will not be re-signing," Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet said Saturday on Hockey Night in Canada. "I’m saying 'for now' at this point because I 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 little while."

Jones is under contract through the 2021-22 season. His decision to inform the Blue Jackets of his plans now could give them the opportunity to trade him this summer.

Columbus finished 18-26-12 during the regular season, missing the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16.

“It was just a tough season in general for everybody,” Jones told reporters earlier this month. “Really, nothing went right for us right from the start. Whether it was injuries, or myself not playing well, some other guys not playing well or up to the standard we needed to, we just didn't jell in time."

Jones was noncommittal when asked about his future, though he called testing free agency "a situation that you only get once in your lifetime." It's clear the allure of being recruited is appealing to the 26-year-old, who has made four All-Star teams during his career.

Jones likely would be in consideration to become the highest-paid defenseman in the NHL once he hits the open market. Erik Karlsson ($11.5 million) and Drew Doughty ($11 million) are the only two defensemen in the league who have an AAV of greater than $10 million.

It's possible the Blue Jackets could break the bank and convince Jones to stay, but it's more likely we're hearing the first of several trade rumors about him this summer.