Signing Jones would be a much different ordeal. He’s still under contract with Columbus, and they’ll be looking to trade him, as has been reported by SportsNet and others. A 26-year-old top-pairing defenseman is going to fetch quite a price, even if his game has possibly fallen off a bit the last couple of years. He’s young enough that age shouldn’t be an issue for Chicago, but whatever the Blue Jackets want will be dear.
How much should a dynamic tew-way defenseman cost as a trade? After losing both Artemi Panarin, Pierre-Luc Dubois, as well as not getting much out of Patrik Laine or Max Domi, Columbus is in a bad spot. They’re rebuilding, again, and want to get as much back as possible for any deals they make. For Chicago, this would likely mean someone young that is likely supposed to be a part of the team’s future. Should the Blackhawks be ready to part ways with up-and-coming talent?
The short answer, “no.” At least not yet. There’s no way Chicago should give up players like Kirby Dach or Alex DeBrincat to get Jones. DeBrincat is 23, and Chicago absolutely needs him. Trading Dach would be its own problem because he’s probably supposed to be taking over for Jonathan Toews. If Bowman sends Dach to Columbus, then the Blackhawks’ center depth will look as thin as their blueline has the last couple of years.
While Jones is a talented player that will help Chicago, it’s not clear how acquiring him will really put them in a better position long-term, or even short-term. The amount that would have to be given up is significant enough that it’s likely Chicago would be as mediocre as they were the last couple of seasons. All that would change would be that the defence would step forward, but the forwards would take a step back.