Seth Jones on Pace to Make Not-So-Good History

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Seth Jones on Pace to Make Not-So-Good History

Chicago Blackhawks

I’m going to preface this entire discussion with a simple caveat: I do not consider plus-minus to be an end-all indicator of the quality of an individual player’s play. There are a lot of factors that go into a high or low number, but sometimes outliers make you think…

The NHL started officially tracking individual player plus-minus stats during the 1967-68 season, at which point the Blackhawks were a 41-year-old franchise. In the 55 years since then, the Blackhawks have had some incredibly good players — and some ugly individual seasons. We’ve seen rebuilds, bottoming out and points-of-no-return before. We’ve also seen a handful of Stanley Cup Final appearances, and three championships in the last decade.

There have been some Hall of Fame defensemen to play in Chicago over the years who put up great numbers. Some of them have also had tough times of their own. Duncan Keith was minus-11 in his rookie season (2005-06), a season in which the Blackhawks had a 26-43-13 record.

But in the history of the Blackhawks (since 1967-68), there have only been 12 seasons in which a defenseman posted an individual plus-minus of at least minus-20. That number could become 14 this season.

The worst number in Blackhawks history belongs to Dick Redmond, who was minus-40 in 80 games during the 1976-77 season. What’s crazy: he was plus-26 just a couple years prior. David Logan, whose minus-22 in 1976-77 was the second-worse in franchise history for more than 20 years, “achieved” that number in only 34 games!

The second-worst number in franchise history belongs to Seth Jones, who was minus-37 last year. Jake McCabe‘s minus-27 last year is the fourth-worst total in team history.

Right now, Seth is on pace to become the first player in franchise history to post multiple seasons of at least minus-20 for the Blackhawks. He’s minus-22 in 29 games to start this season.

Seth was also minus-23 in his rookie season (2013-14), which could put him in not-so-great company as well. Among all active defensemen in the NHL, only six have had at least three seasons of minus-20: Seth Jones (three) Shayne Gostisbehere (three), Ben Hutton (three), Jeff Petry (three), Rasmus Ristolainen (four), Damon Severson (three).

Here are the worst individual plus-minus seasons for a Blackhawks defenseman in franchise history:

  1. Dick Redmond: -40 (1967-68)
  2. Seth Jones: -37 (2021-22)
  3. Duncan Keith: -29 (2017-18)
  4. Jake McCabe: -27 (2021-22)
  5. Deron Quint: -26 (2003-04)
  6. Jassen Cullimore: -24 (2005-06)
  7. Bryan Berard: -24 (2003-04)
  8. Seth Jones: -22 (2022-23)*
  9. David Logan: -22 (1976-77)
  10. Adrian Aucoin: -22 (2006-07)
  11. Dale Tallon: -21 (1976-77)
  12. Calvin de Haan: -21 (2021-22)
  13. Jack Johnson: -21 (2022-23)*
  14. Phil Russell: -20 (1975-76)
    * – active

The silver lining? You might notice the seasons attached to these 14 are bunched together. There are five from last year and this year (three last year and two more this season). There are three from the 1975-77 window. And three more from the 2003-07 window.

In each of the earlier windows, the Blackhawks emerged with key players who helped change the trajectory of the franchise. Chicago drafted Doug Wilson sixth overall in 1977. And, of course, they drafted Jonathan Toews third overall in 2006 and Patrick Kane first overall in 2007. Maybe if we all cross our fingers, Connor Bedard‘s name will be added to those other three icons.

Author: Tab Bamford

Tab is the Lead Blackhawks voice for BN. He is the author of two books about the Blackhawks, most recently "Chicago Blackhawks: An Illustrated Timeline" (Reedy Press, 2021). Find him on Twitter at @The1Tab