NHL Trade Rumors: Seth Jones Likely to Be Moved by Blue Jackets If No New Contract

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVMay 31, 2021

Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Seth Jones controls the puck during an NHL hockey game against the Detroit Red Wings in Columbus, Ohio, Friday, May 7, 2021. The Red Wings won 5-2. (AP Photo/Paul Vernon)
AP Photo/Paul Vernon

Seth Jones' time with the Columbus Blue Jackets may be coming to an end.

Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported Columbus will likely trade the defenseman this offseason "barring a change of heart by Jones."

Portzline noted two teams reached out to Columbus Sunday.

Those reports come after Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet reported Jones told the Blue Jackets he does not plan on signing a contract extension and instead intends to become a free agent when his contract expires following the 2021-22 campaign.

Frankly, this is another blow for a Columbus team and market that is starting to develop a reputation as one where notable players are not staying.

Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene all signed elsewhere right after the best playoff run in franchise history in 2019 when the Blue Jackets stunned the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning with a first-round sweep and pushed the Boston Bruins to six games in the second round.

Columbus also traded Pierre-Luc Dubois after there was some apparent tension with then-head coach John Tortorella.

Blue Jackets president of hockey operations John Davidson discussed the situation with Jones in comparison to the one with Panarin, per Portzline:

"The No. 1 thing we'd like to do is keep Seth. He has every right in the world to leave if he wants to not extend the contract, but we'll do what's best for our team. We just want players who want to be here.
"This is a different scenario (than in 2019). We were in a position (then) where we thought we had a chance to make a pretty good run at (the Stanley Cup). Beating Tampa Bay (in the first round) was great. Losing to Boston in six ... it was a good series, and they lost in seven in the Final."

The Blue Jackets finished in last place in the Central Division during the 2020-21 campaign and may be headed toward a rebuild, especially if they move Jones.

The three-time All-Star is one of the best overall defensemen in the NHL as someone who can anchor the blue line, get involved in the offense and be a factor on the power play. He was an integral part of the 2019 run for the Blue Jackets and is just 26 years old in the middle of his prime.

Losing someone like that would be a blow for the organization, although he could also bring in quite the return in a potential deal.