The Columbus Blue Jackets have re-signed defenseman Seth Jones to a six-year, $34.2 million contract.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Jones, 21, will earn an average annual salary of $5.4 million. That’s a substantial raise over his entry-level average cap hit (minus bonuses) of $925K. Acquired midway through 2015-16 from the Nashville Predators, the Jackets see Jones as their much-needed No.1 defenseman
Jones has steadily improved since joining the Nashville Predators in 2013-14 as a first-round pick (fourth overall) in the 2013 NHL Draft. In 81 games this season split between the Predators and Blue Jackets, he scored three goals and collected 28 assists for 31 points. Twenty of those points came with the Blue Jackets.
The 6’4″, 208 pounder has impressive all-around skills and the potential to blossom into a future Norris Trophy contender. Should he develop as anticipated, this contract could be considered a bargain in a few years.
Re-signing Jones, however, leaves the Jackets with limited salary-cap space for 2016-17. The Columbus Dispatch’s Aaron Portzline indicates they have around $42K of cap space remaining under the $73 million cap ceiling. Management will likely make a trade or buy out a player to alleviate that issue.