Hours before he signed a contract extension with the Columbus Blue Jackets, forward Pierre-Luc was believed to have asked for a trade, hoping to start the 2021 season in a different uniform. He then inked a two year contract with the team that selected him third overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. While the rumours might have quieted down when he signed the deal, Elliotte Friedman was right to say last week that there wasn’t a ton of optimism at this time that the situation can be fixed. That’s because Friedman now reveals in his latest 31 Thoughts on Sportsnet that the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets are two of the many teams interested in Dubois, whose relationship with the Jackets has gotten sour.
The Canadiens and Jets have emerged as two potential suitors and expressed interest in acquiring the star player. We could see why the interest was there previously: both clubs have been in dire need of a center in recent years. However, things have changed for the Habs with Nick Suzuki, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, and Phillip Danault as the team’s top three down the middle. As for the Jets, they can count on Mark Scheifele and Paul Statsny to center the top two lines.
We bet the Jackets’ asking price will likely be sky-high for Dubois, who was their 2016 draft’s third overall pick. General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has proven in the past that he’s willing to wait players out if the right deal doesn’t come along. In 2019, star players Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky both left Columbus in free agency after previously indicating they wouldn’t re-sign with the club. Some fear that Dubois agrees with them on the quality of the market in Columbus, stating that the young forward wants out to play in a larger market.
Tons of interest is focused on Dubois as Montreal and Winnipeg are not the only teams seeking his services, and the clubs involved aren’t “screwing around,” Friedman added.
Dubois put up 18 goals and 49 points in 70 games for Columbus last season and an additional 10 points in 10 playoff games. Suffice it to say that if Dubois is really hitting the trade market, we’re not surprised there’s no shortage of interested suitors.