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Revisiting the Jones-Boqvist Deal, Welcoming the Bears to the Club, and Other Blackhawks Bullets

Chicago Blackhawks

It’s a big day in Chicago sports. Unfortunately, it’s yet another day that revolves around failure, not success. The Chicago Bears have fired both head coach Matt Nagy and GM Ryan Pace this morning, but we’ll get to that. Plenty of time for it today. But I would like to extend a welcome to Luis and the Bears to the “No Coach and No GM” club. It’s not as fun a “Club Dub,” but we meet every Tuesday and there is coffee and pastries. It’s not bad.

•   Tomorrow will be a big day for the Blackhawks and the Columbus Blue Jackets when they face each other in Columbus. It will be the first time the teams have played against each other since the major Seth Jones trade that landed Jones in Chicago and sent Adam Boqvist and a slew of draft picks to the Blue Jackets. Since the deal, Jones has been everything the Blackhawks have needed him to be and at the same time, Boqvist has been everything the Blue Jackets hoped him to be.

•   For Jones, he’s leading the Blackhawks in ice-time (25:54 per game) and is fifth among NHL defensemen with that total per game. His 25 points are third on the team and lead all Blackhawks defensemen, by a lot. After a slow start to the year, Jones is looking once again like a top-level defenseman in the NHL. Whether or not he’s going to live-up to the deal the Blackhawks signed him to upon his arrival in Chicago (eight years, $9.5M AAV) is yet to be seen, but it’s still not encouraging in the long-run.

•   For Boqvist, he’s continued his development as an offensive defenseman in the league and has been given a decent opportunity with Columbus. He’s averaging 16:38 minutes per game for the Blue Jackets and is regularly playing on their powerplay. He is third on the team for defenseman scoring with seven goals and 14 points in 23 games. His 0.61 points per game rate is second on the Blue Jackets blue-line, only behind Zach Werenski’s 0.65 marker. Sure, he’s not a shutdown defenseman in the NHL, but that’s not his game or his strength. He’s 21-years-old, and it’s still surprising to believe the Blackhawks included him in the deal.

•   What also hurts the Blackhawks in the deal, at least a little hurt right now and maybe a major hurt later this summer, are the draft picks included in the deal. Chicago gave up their 2021 first-round pick (Columbus picked Cole Sillinger at No. 12), their 2022 first-round pick (Top-two protection), and a 2021 second-round pick (which Columbus traded to Carolina for Jake Bean). Chicago got Columbus’ 2021 first-round pick (Chicago picked Nolan Allan at No. 32) and their 2022 sixth-round pick.

•   Sillinger has already become a contributor to the Blue Jackets, recording 12 points in 33 games as an 18-year-old this season. The possibility of the Blackhawks losing their first round pick this season, if it doesn’t end up being the first or second-overall pick, is troubling. They’re likely to finish in the lottery-pick range and I have a bad feeling the ping-pong balls will not be in Chicago’s favor. Nolan Allan was selected at the end of the first round, but many had him graded as a late-second or third-round prospect in the 2021 NHL Draft. He’s played on the top-pair with the Prince Albert Raiders in the WHL, recording two goals and 16 points in 29 games.

•   It’s a deal that former GM Stan Bowman made a splash with this summer, part of his summer of splashes, to try to make the Blackhawks a win-now team. He’s no longer around, and the Blackhawks are not winning now.

•   Speaking of not being around, the Chicago Bears fired GM Ryan Pace and head coach Matt Nagy today.

•   Welcome to the club, Bears.

•   Nagy and Pace were a lot like Jeremy Colliton and Stan Bowman, in that they were a package deal. If one had to go, the other had to follow. Of course, in the case of the Blackhawks, it was under different circumstances. While the Blackhawks are operating in the interim with Derek King as head coach and Kyle Davidson as GM, the Bears’ searches for their replacements start now (or should have already started, if we’re being honest).

•   So. Much. Change.

•   Speaking of changes, Marc Bergevin, ousted from the Montréal Canadiens earlier this season, was not out of work very long.

•   Color me shocked, right? This is the NHL after all and what is more common in the league than the same people getting fired and re-hired from team to team?

•   What is not common in the NHL is seeing a monkey drop the ceremonial first puck…

•   It was quite a night for the Ducks and Red Wings. Starting with the Rally Monkey dropping the puck, and ending with a slew of rookie standouts having big nights.

•   A trio of Calder Trophy candidates were connected last night, starting with Trevor Zegras scoring on the powerplay.

•   Detroit defenseman Moritz Seider got in on the rookie action as well last night with an assist.

•   Not to be out-done, Lucas Raymond also tallied an assist in the game, getting himself back even with Seider in that category.

•   Quite a list of names for Seider and Raymond to be mentioned with in Red Wings history. Must be nice to have not one, but two elite-level prospects in your farm system.

•   The Arizona Coyotes are running out of time to find a new home in the desert. They were possibly going to be getting some relief in their search with a potential move to Tempe in the works, but that is reportedly looking bleak for the Coyotes now.

•   The NHL won’t give up on hockey in Arizona, so somehow, some way, they will find a new home in Arizona.

•   Also looking for a new home will be Evander Kane. He was waived from the San Jose organization after violating AHL COVID protocol, becoming a free agent, but the NHLPA has filed a grievance on his behalf regarding the termination of his deal.

•   According to Kane’s agent, Dan Milstein, there is significant interest from multiple teams to sign him to a deal through the end of this year.

•   Something to keep an eye on over the next few days will be the journey that Bleacher Nation writer Patrick has with his “new dog” Pretzel…

•   If anyone has lost a young Husky dog, please reach out.

•   Finally, last night we learned of the unexpected passing of Bob Saget. If you’re in my generation, you grew up watching Saget on Full House and America’s Funniest Home Videos. And as you grew older, you found out how much different Saget was as a comedian compared to his on-screen persona in the early-90’s. And many loved him even more for that through the years.

•   He had hard times in his life, but he was an American icon and he will be missed.

•   That will do it for today. I hope you all have a good Monday.



Author: Mario Tirabassi

Mario Tirabassi is a writer for Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Mario_Tirabassi.