A Seth Jones trade seems like a foregone conclusion this off-season. The Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman has stated that he will not sign an extension before his current contract expires after the 2021-22 and will test the free agent market, all but guaranteeing that he will not re-sign with the team. The retooling Blue Jackets are not going to watch another star player walk away as they get nothing in return and recognize that Jones’ value will be much higher this summer as opposed to dealing him in-season. Columbus’ leverage is damaged by Jones’ public statements, but the team will try to create a bidding war to drive up the price. There should be no shortage of interest and one team is already hot on the trail. In his latest “31 Thoughts” column, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman writes that the Philadelphia Flyers are “definitely” in on Jones and that it isn’t exactly a secret either. Friedman states that there is a lot of chatter surrounding a potential Jones-to-Philly deal already. The Flyers have been open about their desire to add another top pair defenseman across from Ivan Provorov and have a number of talented young roster players and a deep pipeline to offer Columbus whatever they want. In need of top center, perhaps the Blue Jackets will buy low on 2017 second overall pick Nolan Patrick as part of a package for Jones, a top-five pick himself.
- Another player on the trade block, though not as publicly as Jones, is Carolina Hurricanes forward Warren Foegele. Foegele is looking to play a bigger role and on a deep Hurricanes roster he has been limited to bottom-six responsibilities. At first it seemed like Carolina may be reluctant to move the underrated forward, but it seems the tides are turning. Friedman believes that the ’Canes are going to re-shape their bottom-six after falling short in the playoffs once again and that Foegele’s unofficial trade request may just be honored. He reports that trade talks are occurring between Carolina and Foegele suitors. Friedman adds that impending unrestricted free agent Jordan Martinook is another player unlikely to return to Raleigh next season.
- One player that Friedman does not see moving: Calgary Flames forward Matthew Tkachuk. While this may seem like common sense, the Flames are listening to all offers right now and could be making some major changes this summer. There were also whispers that Tkachuk himself may want to leave, however those rumors were met with swift and firm denials. As Friedman points out, that is a contrasting approach to how other teams have treated players who have recently asked to leave, such as Jones or Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, implying that the rumors are in fact false. Friedman reports that Tkachuk’s name never came up in Calgary’s Pierre-Luc Dubois negotiations and the team has zero interest in trading him.