Hours after defenseman Seth Jones secured his future with the Columbus Blue Jackets by signing a six-year contract, he saw former teammate, mentor and roommate Shea Weber traded by the Nashville Predators, the team he captained for six seasons, to the Montreal Canadiens.
In an interview with JacketsTV, Jones said he was surprised by the trade.
"I was pretty shocked," he said of the trade that sent Weber to the Canadiens for defenseman P.K. Subban on June 29. "That shows you that nobody's untouchable, I guess. He's probably one of the closest things to it."
Jones said he reached out to Weber to wish him well with the Canadiens, and showed his appreciation for his mentorship through his first three seasons in the NHL.
"He's a fantastic hockey player and a fantastic person," Jones said of the defenseman. "I lived with him my first year for a couple months when I first got to Nashville. He did a lot for me. He taught me a lot about how to lead a team and how to be a professional."
Video: Seth Jones talks about his new six-year deal
Jones, 21, was traded to Columbus in January for center Ryan Johansen. In the 81 games he played with the Predators and Blue Jackets last season, Jones had 31 points, an NHL career high. He said the thought of looming contract negotiations did not weigh on his mind last season.
"You try to keep it to the side and let your agent worry about that stuff," Jones said. "Doing my job on the ice is going to make his job a lot easier off the ice. I tried to go out at the start of the season, knowing it's a contract year, and just play my game like I know I can."
He said the midseason adjustment to playing in Columbus was tough but ultimately rewarding.
"I think it helped me quite a bit," he said. "It was definitely a transition in the exact middle of the season to get traded to a new team, new teammates, new staff, new coaches and a new system. You have to get adjusted pretty quickly. I don't know if that's harder than getting traded in the summer. I've never been through that, but this was something that was kind of difficult to get through my head and process at first."
After signing his contract, Jones said his offseason plans haven't changed very much. He is training and preparing in Ohio for the upcoming season, as was his plan all along. Going into his first full season in Columbus, Jones said he likes the defensive unit he gets to work with for the next six years, including Zach Werenski, the eighth pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, who will be battling for a Blue Jackets roster spot in training camp.
"I think we're really young and we're going to learn a lot from each other here going forward," Jones said. "We can help [Werenski] through this process, too. A couple of us have been through that, coming in during our first year. We have some good players back there, some guys with a lot of talent, and I like the way it's looking."