Jones believes playing under some of the game’s most respected leaders has helped him prepare to wear the “C.”
“I’ve always wanted to be a captain,” Jones said Tuesday, per NHL.com’s Tracey Myers. “I’ve learned from some great leaders – Shea Weber, Nick Foligno, Jonathan Toews – I mean, I played with some of the greatest captains that we’ve seen. It would be pretty special.”
It’s unclear if the Blackhawks will even name a captain. It’s not uncommon for rebuilding teams to go without one, and Chicago projects to be one of the NHL’s worst clubs yet again.
“I understand where the organization is at,” said Jones, who turns 29 in October. “I’m focused on going and just playing my game and leading whether I have a ‘C,’ an ‘A,’ or nothing on my jersey. I don’t think that should change.”
Jones, a 10-year NHL veteran, was traded to the Blackhawks in 2021. He has seven seasons remaining on his contract, which carries a $9.5-million cap hit and a full no-movement clause.
He led all Blackhawks skaters in average time on ice (24:27) last season and finished fourth on the club with 37 points in 72 games. His underlying numbers were strong, too, despite his minus-38 rating.
The Blackhawks added some veteran leaders this offseason, including Jones’ former captain in Columbus, Foligno.
“He’s a special guy, a special human,” Jones said of Foligno. “He cares so much about the players he plays with, the organization he’s on, and the community. Big family guy. He’s got beautiful kids and he’s just a great guy to have in the locker room. He knows how to lighten the room up a little bit when need be, crack a good dad joke. He’s the king of dad jokes. He’s just great, a great guy.”
But Foligno is 35 and signed a one-year deal. Triple Gold Club member Corey Perry, 38, joined Chicago on a one-year deal as well.
The Blackhawks could also wait it out while eyeing Connor Bedard, 18, as the team’s next captain. The 2023 No. 1 pick enters the NHL with a comparable level of hype to Sidney Crosby and Connor McDavid as rookies, and they both became captains at age 19.
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