Defenseman Seth Jones is the primary piece here, with Sportsnet reporter Elliotte Friedman reporting that the two teams are “taking another run” at a possible deal.
The key evolution in those discussions centers around Columbus’ return in the deal, which had been rumored to include a few key Chicago cogs. According to Friedman, that’s since changed:
What the two teams are trying to do is find common ground without including either of them; finding another mix of Chicago’s young players, prospects and high draft picks.
Removing Dach and DeBrincat from the discussion is a good start because, as discussed on this site earlier in the week, Jones has not been playing as a No. 1 defenseman for a few seasons now and should not be able to fetch either one of those Blackhawks in a deal without some additional compensation involved.
But here’s what we said down near the bottom of that article referenced above:
If that price comes down significantly, then it’d be worth exploring more.
Now it’s starting to trend in that direction. How far the price has dropped is something worth keeping an eye on, because there’s certainly value to be had in Jones as a hockey player. He turns 27 this fall and was a very good defenseman in earlier stages of his career. His cap hit is $5.4 million, which wouldn’t cripple Chicago’s financial situation, especially with it only lasting for one more year. If Jones can rediscover his old form, then the Blackhawks would have the inside track on locking down a No. 1 defenseman again. If not, he probably walks in free agency in 2022.
But there’s risk associated with there, and that risk is why Jones value isn’t as high as it was, say, five years ago when he was dealt for Ryan Johansen.
What’s it going to take now, though? Shipping away this year’s first-round pick feels like a price too high. Losing Adam Boqvist would also be a tough pill to swallow. Lukas Reichel’s dazzling play in Europe would make it difficult to see him go.
Perhaps it’s a package that includes second and/or third-round picks and a few prospects lower than Boqvist and Reichel on the organizational depth chart: Nicolas Beaudin, Ian Mitchell, Philipp Kurashev, etc. A future first-round pick could also be on the table, with the Hawks hoping that this trade means that pick trends towards the end of the round. Dominik Kubalik is the Blackhawks best young forward behind Dach and DeBrincat. Maybe this is where the Dylan Strome trade rumors meet their end. Alex Nylander, too. One thing the Blackhawks do have is a glutton of young players and a lack of roster spots for all of them.
They just can’t give away the wrong one(s).