COLUMBUS, OHIO – The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed defenseman Seth Jones to a six-year contract through the 2021-22 National Hockey League season, club General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen announced today. Kekalainen and Jones will be available to meet with the media today at 2 p.m. in the press conference room at Nationwide Arena.
Jones, who would have been a restricted free agent on July 1, was acquired by the Blue Jackets from the Nashville Predators in exchange for center Ryan Johansen on January 6. The 21-year-old led club defensemen in scoring as he collected three goals and 28 assists for 31 points with 28 penalty minutes, while averaging 22:04 time on ice (TOI) in 81 games last season, including 2-18-20, 12 penalty minutes and 24:27 TOI in 41 games with Columbus. He set career highs in points, assists, TOI and shots on goal (157).
“Acquiring Seth Jones was very important to our organization and reaching a long-term agreement with him to remain a Blue Jacket was a priority, so we are extremely excited about having done so today,” said Kekalainen. “At 21, Seth is just beginning to tap into his potential as a player. He has everything you look for in a defenseman and is going to be a very important player and leader on our team for many years.”
Jones was the fourth overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft and made his NHL debut with Nashville in 2013-14. He ranked among the NHL’s rookie defensemen leaders in goals, assists and points with 6-19-25 and 24 penalty minutes in 77 games. In 2014-15, he tallied 8-19-27, 20 penalty minutes and was +3 in 82 games, logged 19:52 TOI and was the only Predators defenseman to appear in every game. He also led the club with four assists in six games during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. In 240 career NHL games, he has registered 17-66-83, 66 penalty minutes and 20:32 TOI.
A 6-4, 208-pound native of Arlington, Texas, Jones was selected to play for Team North America in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey tournament to be held this September. He was named one of Team USA’s best three players at the 2014 and 2015 IIHF World Championship tournaments. In 2015, he tallied 1-3-4 and was +4 in 10 games to help the squad capture the bronze medal. In 2014, he was named the tournament’s Best Defenseman and earned All-Star honors after notching 2-9-11 with a +8 plus/minus rating in eight contests. He also helped the U.S. win the gold medal at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships, collecting 1-6-7 in seven games.
Jones spent three seasons with the United States Development Program from 2010-12 before joining the Western Hockey League’s Portland Winterhawks. In his lone WHL season in 2012-13, he racked up 14-42-56, 33 penalty minutes and was +46 in 61 games. He won the Jim Piggott Trophy as WHL Rookie of the Year, was named the Canadian Hockey League’s Top Prospect of the Year and was a WHL First-Team All-Star. He helped Portland to a 57-12-3 record, the Ed Chynoweth Cup as league champions and a spot in the 2013 Memorial Cup final. He was the top-rated North American skater in Central Scouting’s final ratings of 2013.