Jones will sign an eight-year, $76 million contract extension as part of the deal, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman:
"Acquiring Seth Jones has been on our wish list for years, it has seemed," Blackhawks general manager Stan Bowman told ESPN's Emily Kaplan."It never was a possibility until somewhat recently. Seth is the real deal. He’s entering the prime of his career. Changes the whole complexion of our team"
The move comes after Friedman reported in May that the 26-year-old told the team he planned on hitting free agency instead of re-signing when his contract expired after the 2021-22 season.
From the team's perspective, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reported at the time that Columbus planned on trading him "barring a change of heart by Jones."
That came to fruition, and Jones is yet another talented playmaker leaving the Blue Jackets when he was a primary contributor.
Columbus traded Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets following some apparent tension with then-head coach John Tortorella. It also traded Josh Anderson to the Montreal Canadiens. Most notably, Artemi Panarin, Sergei Bobrovsky and Matt Duchene all signed elsewhere following the 2018-19 season.
The departures of Panarin, Bobrovsky and Duchene came at particularly difficult timing for the Blue Jackets.
After all, they appeared to turn the corner as an annual playoff contender when they stunned the powerhouse Tampa Bay Lightning with a first-round sweep in the 2019 postseason. They also pushed the Boston Bruins to six games in the second round in the best playoff run in franchise history.
The stars chose to leave instead of staying put and building on that effort, and the franchise is now coming off a last-place finish in the Central Division during the 2020-21 season and no longer has Jones on its blueline.
Columbus' loss is Chicago's gain, as Jones is a three-time All-Star who can play physical defense, anchor the penalty kill and contribute on the offensive end in power-play or full-strength scenarios.
He finished with 57 points and a plus-minus total of plus-10 during the 2017-18 season for the Blue Jackets and followed with 46 points in 2018-19. He also posted a plus-10 during the shortened 2019-20 season.
The Arlington, Texas native took something of a step back in 2020-21, as his 28 points was his lowest mark since his second season in the league in 2014-15 when he played for the Nashville Predators. His minus-18 mark was his worst since he was a rookie.
Part of the issue was the overall struggles for the entire team, and Jones will look to bounce back following this change of scenery to Chicago.
This is far from the first trade the Blackhawks and Blue Jackets have completed in recent years, as Chicago sent Brandon Saad to Columbus in 2015 and Artemi Panarin to Columbus in 2017. This time, the notable star is heading to the Windy City, where he will look to help the Blackhawks bounce back from missing the playoffs in 2020-21.
If Jones returns to form as a dominant defender, he could do just that.