Friday, July 23, 2021

Seth Jones Jersey Card

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Only weeks after Seth Jones let the Columbus Blue Jackets know that he wouldn't re-sign with them past this next season, the team found a taker for his services in the form of the Chicago Blackhawks, who are making a push for the playoffs for the 2021-22 season. The Hawks have also seemigly re-signed him for $9.5M per season (edit: confirmed, $76M over 8 seasons), hoping they get the Norris Trophy contender from 2019 instead of the sub-par performer from this past season - and I think they did.

Usually, defensemen already have hardware on their mantle before they start earning upwards of $100K per game, but this offseason is special, with the Seattle Kraken expansion draft and most GMs having prepared for it by having little over the minimum number of players to protect under contract and preferring to push their re-signings to between the amateur draft and the start of free agency; those that didn't traded away fairly big names (such as Ryan Ellis), at times for a decent return, but sometimes for literally nothing. I believe the top tier defensemen will all sign around $8-9M, one of them might fall to half that, which is where the good shut-down defenders will also range, and there will be an awful lot of $1M deals with lower-tier guys and veterans aiming for that elusive Stanley Cup betting on themselves on a short contract. That's what a flat-cap world mixed with a lot of buyouts coupled with players not getting qualified will do - it creates a perceived elite class, the middle ground disappears and those who wait too long end up on bad teams or with bad deals out of sheer lack of cap space.

Jones comes in as a household name to replace the departed Duncan Keith, who was 11 years older. The Hawks now have cost certainty for that top spot on D until he turns 35, which is when defensemen start regressing - a perfect time for a contract of this magnitude to end; perhaps the salary cap will even have increased a bit starting in the middle of the deal. Chicago will also be able to build around him, using players that will complement his skills for the duration of his prime, and their cap situation is clear (and healthy) after the Keith trade and Brent Seabrook's cap hit on Long Term Injured Reserve.

Here he is as a rookie, freshly drafted by the Nashville Predators - fourth overall, behind Nathan MacKinnon, Aleksander Barkov and Jonathan Drouin - and wearing their terrible white (away) Reebok uniform on card #RM-SJ from Upper Deck's 2013-14 Series 2 collection and Rookie Materials sub-set:
It features a blue jersey swatch from a rookie photo shoot.

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