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Blackhawks Player Evaluations: Seth and Caleb Jones

Jay Zawaski Avatar
May 19, 2022

Every Wednesday throughout the offseason, the CHGO Blackhawks crew will give their evaluations of the 2021-22 Blackhawks. We’ll be using our “feather system.” Four feathers = an A, three feathers = a B, and so on.

This week, we’re starting things off with Seth and Caleb…the Brothers Jones.

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Seth Jones Analysis

This is as good a place as any to put our “Seth Jones Qualifier.”

Yes, Stan Bowman (aka He Who Shall Not Be Named) gave up too much to get him. Yes, he is overpaid.

There. Now that we got that out of the way, we can move on with our analysis.

Jay Zawaski: Seth started the season looking to live up to the hype, or maybe more accurately, justify his contract. He was trying to do everything all the time, and as a result, didn’t do much right at all. Once he settled into his role, he looked a lot more like the player the Blackhawks traded for. He led the NHL in ice-time among defensemen who played 20 or more games this season, averaging 26:13 per game. His 46 assists were a career high, but he only managed 5 goals on the season, with zero on the powerplay. In fact, no Blackhawks defenseman scored a powerplay goal this season. It’s fair to expect his goal output to grow, as his shooting percentage was an almost comical 2.6%. His career average is 4.9%.

He has acknowledged he needs to be more aggressive when it comes to shooting and took that mindset into the IIHF World Championships, where he promptly scored a power play goal in the first game of the tourney.

It’s also important to note that Jones was walking into a chaotic situation, with Jeremy Colliton’s horrible start then firing, off the ice controversy, and a locker room that Derek King described to us as “fragile.”

Once the disastrous start of the season faded, and the Blackhawks could just focus on hockey, Jones elevated his game. I hope to see him take a bigger leadership role on the team next season.

3 Feathers

Mario Tirabassi: Seth Jones was exactly who he needed to be for the Blackhawks this season. Take away the contract and the deal that got him to Chicago, he was a No. 1 defenseman who could play in all situations and play nearly half of each game. While his goal-scoring was down for ours and his standards, his lack of scoring this season is more of an anomaly than the norm for him. He’s a top-tier defender in the NHL and did what he was supposed to do. 

3.5 Feathers

Greg Boysen: The Blackhawks acquired him to be their number-one defenseman, and that is precisely what he was. Yes, he struggled the first month of the season, but that was a problem up and down the roster. Jones tried to do too much, but he became the best defenseman on the team once he settled in. He was second on the team in assists and third in points while playing the most minutes. Only five goals, and now of them on the power play is a disappointment, but I don’t foresee him shooting 2.6% for the rest of his time here.

3 Feathers

Caleb Jones Analysis

Jay: I wasn’t sure what to expect from Caleb Jones when the Blackhawks traded Duncan Keith for him, and to be honest, I’m still not sure what to expect. He’s not bad by any means. I think he was certainly one of the Hawks six best defensemen last season, but it remains to be see how much growth is left in his game. He’s only 24, so some upward movement should be expected, but there isn’t any part of his game that really stands out good or bad. Where is the growth going to come from? Perhaps the on-ice awareness and decision making aspects could make a jump. Regardless, I think it makes perfect sense for the Hawks to sign him for another year or two. It won’t cost much to get him back, and if a defenseman in Rockford is ready to make the jump, the organization will have no problem putting him in the press box. They need to fill out roster spots until the kids prove ready to make the jump. Jones is a perfect placeholder with some upside.

2.5 Feathers

Mario: The younger Jones brother also did exactly what he was expected to do in Chicago. Unfortunately, Caleb leaves this season with pretty much the same questions surrounding him that he came into the club with. Not much was answered when it came to “is he an NHL-regular?” or “is he more than a No. 6/7 defenseman on this team?” Jones should come back next season on a one-year deal. He’ll be cheap and he’s a young “vet” in the NHL. You could do worse than him. 

2 Feathers

Greg: I came into the season with very little expectation for Caleb. The jury was still out on his NHL trajectory. He could be good; he could be awful. Through his 51 games played, he fit right in between those two outcomes. He set career-highs in games played, goals, assists, and points. His 16:43 of ice time per night was over a minute higher than his career average. As he got more playing time towards the end of the season and took on a more prominent role, his level of play got better. He started to show more confidence as the coaching staff trusted him more. He is a serviceable sixth or seventh defenseman with some room for improvement. With at least two spots opening up on the Blackhawks’ blue line next season, you could do worse than Caleb Jones on your third pairing.

2 Feathers

Stay tuned to the CHGO Blackhawks Podcast for more player evaluations as the offseason grinds on.

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