July 26th, 2021. The Chicago Blackhawks made a blockbuster of a trade; acquiring Seth Jones for Adam Boqvist, a 1st swap (11th to 32nd), a conditional 1st, and a 2nd. They then immediately signed Jones to a massive extension.
However, another No. 1 Dman was available that offseason to the Blackhawks. For nothing but cap space. His analytics are darling and he’s been up for the Norris. You know him as Dougie Hamilton. He’s also cheaper than Jones, and will be younger at the end of his deal than Jones will be at the end of his extension. He signed with the New Jersey Devils this offseason.
Let’s ask ourselves that question from up top again. Did the Blackhawks acquire the wrong guy?
Well, they have needed desperately to start games looking like a competent hockey team. Seth Jones has been out there for all of those starts and hasn’t been much help. I know the season is young, but a 38.9% 5-on-5 Corsi (hockey-reference) is abysmal.
If we’re talking eye test, Jones whiffed on a shorthanded one-timer set up by Dach against the Devils. He finished the game better, but two of the three have been awful and the one good game had that gaffe.
By contrast, Hamilton was ready to start the game against Chicago. He scored 17 seconds (ouch) into the game. The Devils have only played one game, but Hamilton still had a flawless night in it. He controlled the puck well, began breakouts, and created offense. He’s been excellent at those things his entire career, and that’s not getting into his skating ability for his size.
Plus, his defensive game is a lot better than he’s given credit for. You can only play the “his partner does everything” card so long for a guy who’s been on that many teams. At some point, he’s just good.
"Why the Blackhawks shouldn’t trade for Seth Jones"
To conclude, I do think the Chicago Blackhawks made the wrong choice this summer. I think they hamstrung their future for a gamble on the present, with a better option on the table for that same present. Dougie fit the mold they were looking for in Jones, and arguably does it better all over the ice. Also, the whole still having Adam Boqvist, the 11th overall pick to use, and the 1st next year to improve the roster with thing.
Maybe Seth Jones proves me wrong. I hope he does, really. But I haven’t seen Norris or No.1 caliber play from him in a few years.