The turbulence around the Columbus Blue Jackets led by Finnish boss Jarmo Kekäläinen is not going to subside.
Elliotte Friedman, an insider reporter for Canadian media Sportsnet, reported on Saturday that Columbus star defender Seth Jones, 26, is unwilling to sign a deal with a team that collapsed to the bottom of the NHL this season.
Columbus ’long-term support pillar contract remains for next season, after which he will become an unlimited free agent.
“At some point in the past about a week or so, Jones has informed Blue Jackets that he won’t sign a follow-up deal,” Friedman reports on a live Hockey Night in Canada TV broadcast.
- At this stage, I say this for the time being, because I do not want to swear this as the ultimate truth.
But it looks like Jones is ready to try the free market, Friedman continued.
According to The Athletic, Columbus would very likely be willing to offer Jones the greatest contract in club history.
Most likely, Jones would also have been made the team’s next captain.
- This is a devastating blow to the organization, The Athletic describes the recent news of Jones' reluctance to continue in Columbus.
Seth Jones is Columbus' most important player.
Photo: Brent Clark / ZUMA / MVphotos
Jones has been Columbus ’playing time king in all six of his seasons.
If Jones' head no longer turns, GM Kekäläinen will find himself in a tricky situation again.
In order for Columbus to get even some benefit from its number one star in the future, this should be traded before the contract expires - possibly as early as this summer.
Columbus has lost one of its wanted star players one after another in recent years.
At the beginning of the season, Pierre-Luc Dubois, the team's number one center, arranged the doors by banging themselves out.
Earlier, for example, superstars Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovski refused to sign a sequel to Columbus.
Kekäläinen has a busy summer ahead of it, because in addition to Jones' case, Patrik Laine's situation in Columbus, among others, is open.
The Finnish star who has failed in his new company is currently without a contract, but Columbus still owns his rights.
Columbus is also currently looking for a new head coach to replace John Tortorella, who has left his seat.
In addition to possible star-class merchandise, Kekäläinen has as many as three first-round booking shifts for this summer.
Kekäläinen recently signed an extension agreement with Columbus until 2025.