When Pierre-Luc Dubois was pulled from the ice five shifts into the Columbus Blue Jackets‘ eventual 3-2 loss to the reigning Stanley Cup Champion Tampa Bay Lightning, it effectively spelled the end of the two sides’ increasingly ugly relationship.
Now, sure, technically, that isn’t true per se. John Tortorella stated in his postgame interview that PLD was pulled from the game due to a poor shift, and the 22-year-old forward could be back on the ice – or riding the hardwoods – in a day, a week, or maybe a little longer. But at this point, assuming the two camps don’t have an astonishing meeting of the minds, any chance of Dubois remaining a member of the Blue Jackets long-term is pretty much over.
Make no mistake about it: Pierre-Luc Dubois’ days with the Columbus Blue Jackets are numbered, and general manager Jarmo Kekäläinen would be wise to make a move sooner than later.
Which teams would be the most intriguing landing spots for Dubois? Not which teams are the most realistic landing spots or which teams can put together the best package to get a deal done, but which could change their fates in the most intriguing way with PLD in their uniform? Well, I’ve scoured the league and settle on a few intriguing options who should keep Kekäläinen’s phone number handy as the league year inches forward.
The Montreal Canadiens
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The Canadiens reportedly attempted to trade for PLD during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, coveted him again in 2018, and would surely still love to see the Quebec native wearing a red, white, and blue jersey at some point in the not too distant future.
Do they necessarily need him? No, the Habs have a pair of intriguing young centers in 2018 trade acquisition Nick Suzuki and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was selected third overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. But will either player ever be as good as Dubois is right now, let alone better?
That, my friends, is the question.
With the generally held belief being that the Columbus Blue Jackets would require a package of Suzuki-plus to surrender PLD and his two-year, $10 million deal, there is at least a chance a deal finally goes down, if for no other reason than that it appears the Habs are Dubois’ preferred destination.
While I personally wouldn’t pull the trigger on any deal that gives away Suzuki – as I think he’s one of the brightest young puck distributors in the NHL – I can see why the Blue Jackets would want him and why the Canadiens could convince themselves that such a move is in the best interests of their franchise.