The Blackhawks have a great option for the next captain in Seth Jones

of Chicago Blackhawks‘Senior, Seth Jones Most likely around the March 3 trade deadline. But it’s not like he’s not an interesting chip. In an attempt to rebuild, former general manager (GM) Stan Bowman acquired Jones from the Columbus Blue Jackets in July 2021 and later signed him to a massive eight-year, $76 million contract that began this season.

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As the rebuild continues, Jones would ideally be there as a potential trade piece along with Patrick Kane, Max Domi and others. However, Jones is more likely to stay here, and that’s not a bad thing. In fact, he is more than capable once he took over the captaincy Jonathan Toews Quit, even as a short-term solution. As more prospects come in, his presence can make him the perfect mentor.

The Blackhawks may need a new captain soon

The Blackhawks will likely be one of the busiest clubs in the league come deadline day. While neither Kane nor Toews have publicly waived their no-movement clauses (NMC), Toews recently said that part of him sees the “writing on the wall” about the state of the team. In a recent interview with NBC Sports Chicago. He added that the change could be beneficial for both him and the franchise.

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Obviously, there are many scenarios. The Blackhawks could hold Toews through the end of 2022-23 and let him walk this summer or bring him back to help the cap floor next season. But those comments are the closest he’s ever hinted he might want out In addition to briefly expressing frustration Last season

It’s hard to project what the Blackhawks will look like post-deadline, let alone next season. They have eight pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs) and while some stay and play the rest of the season, more prospects and young players will arrive to fill roster spots. If and when Toews leaves, filling the captaincy should be a priority.

Seth Jones Chicago Blackhawks
Seth Jones, Chicago Blackhawks (Amy Irvine / hockey writer)

This is where Jones comes in. The Blackhawks will have many choices to fill the role; Like Jones, Conor Murphy is an alternate captain and Jack McCabe would also be a smart choice. That makes Jones stand out, even though we know he’s here for the long haul. Because of his contract, the Blackhawks have little chance of dealing him unless they retain a significant portion of his salary and/or add sweeteners like draft picks or potential capital, which wouldn’t be ideal.

Jones may be years removed from his career season in 2017-18, when he posted 57 points through 78 games and finished fourth in Norris Trophy voting. Nevertheless, he still brings great leadership qualities and is generally well-liked. Even if it only lasts a season or two, depending on when the Blackhawks get their next Ken or Toews, his experience and personality could add value to the team before they start contending again.

Jones’ demeanor and experience should benefit Chicago’s younger players

Jones is cool, calm and collected, but he thrives in high-pressure moments. Look no further than Tuesday’s (Jan. 17) 4-3 overtime win over the Buffalo Sabres. He scored the winning goal in overtime after the game was tied 3-3 in the last minute. Capping off a successful homestand.

Furthermore, Jones is great at leading by example, which the team will need Because they are small. Blue Jackets defenseman and Jones’ former teammate Zach Werenski described his personality as relaxed and down-to-earth while still bringing a competitive nature (“a contrast to Jonathan Toews from the Blackhawks’ Seth Jones — and his successor as captain apparently,” athletic, 12/23/22). Much like Blackhawks head coach Luke Richardson, Jones has shown he can keep the atmosphere light, which can go a long way for the team.

What sets Jones apart is his experience. He is a five-time All-Star and was instrumental in helping the Blue Jackets become a regular contender during his tenure in Columbus from 2016-2021. Had he not left the team, you have to think he would have been in the mix for their next captaincy, which ultimately went to Boone Jenner after the departure of Nick Foligno. Experience isn’t everything, but an established veteran like Jones could help take over what will surely be an inexperienced Blackhawks club these next few seasons.

This season, Jones has 19 points (four goals, 15 assists) through 32 games. He picked it up during the Blackhawks’ recent seven-game homestand, recording nine points. He’s far from perfect, and while it would be surprising to see him sustain this production long-term, he’s made the best of the Blackhawks’ situation. Like Toews, you want someone with loyalty to lead the way, and Jones has shown just that.

Jones works to rebuild the captaincy

Naming Jones captain makes sense now, but that could change If the Blackhawks land Connor Bedard Or Adam Fantilly in this year’s draft. It’s unlikely they’ll win a title in their rookie season, but teams have precedent for naming second-year players captains, including the Colorado Avalanche with Gabriel Lanskog and the Edmonton Oilers with Connor McDavid.

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That said, as great as Bedard and Fantilly may be, that doesn’t mean they’re immediately captain-worthy. There is always room for uncertainty, too. See the Sabers draft Jack Eichel second overall in 2015; Many touted him as the next face of the franchise, but injuries and other issues cut his tenure in Buffalo relatively short. I don’t think that will happen with Bedard or Fantilly, but something is possible.

Jones’ quiet presence fits a rebuilding team like the Blackhawks. He has a different leadership style than Toews, but it works where the team is now, knowing there isn’t as much pressure to compete. Ideally, the Blackhawks will be more competitive in, say, three to four years, and develop their next superstar who will be able to face high expectations and take accountability.

The Jones trade is as bad as it sounds, it could be a blessing in disguise for the Blackhawks. Kane, Toews and others could all potentially be gone soon, leaving Jones as one of the team’s few players with All-Star potential. While he wouldn’t be a captain at most other clubs, Jones’ captaincy could serve well in the early stages of a rebuild and until the Blackhawks develop their next star.

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