The hockey world woke up on Saturday morning to a long-awaited blockbuster trade between the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets. After the weeks of drama and rumours surrounding Pierre-Luc Dubois and his future with the team became deafening, he was dealt in a trade that to sent him to the Winnipeg Jets.
It was a swap of 22-year-old stars as Patrik Laine heads to Columbus as the exchange. He is joined by Columbus native, forward Jack Roslovic. Columbus will also be sending their 2022 third-round pick to the Jets.
Coming into training camp this year, Dubois signed a two-year contract extension worth $10 million. During this period, he expressed to management and GM Jarmo Kekalainen that he wanted to be traded out of Columbus. While it didn’t seem like Kekalainen was rushing to trade Dubois, the process was sped up after Thursday night’s game against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Blue Jackets Head Coach John Tortorella benched Dubois in the first period and he didn’t see the ice for the remainder of the game. This came after a lacluster shift from Dubois, leaving Tortorella with no choice but to send a message about the culture of his team and what he expects of them.
Laine, who was selected second overall in 2016, just one pick ahead of Dubois, has been a rumoured trade piece for some time now. He has dealt with his fair share of adversity in Winnipeg and did not see much of a future with the team. The Blue Jackets have been in need a player with high level scoring ability and with this deal, were able to kill two birds with one stone. They found a new home for Dubois and while grabbing a forward like Laine who can undoubtedly produce points.
In order to keep Laine’s cap hit the same as what Columbus had Dubois on the books for, the Winnipeg Jets will retain 26% of his salary. The only extra cap hit the Blue Jackets will have to take on is that of Roslovic. Laine will be a RFA following this season.
Dubois will have to wait to officially join the Jets upon his arrival in Winnipeg as the Canadian government has a mandatory 14-day quarantine when travelling from outside the country. Winnipeg Jets GM, Kevin Cheveldayoff has said that Dubois will be flying on a private jet to Winnipeg, not breaking protocol and the team is hoping his required quarantine is cut in half to 7 days. Should the quarantine not be shortened, he will miss seven games. The Blue Jackets will also have to wait to see Laine on the ice as he has been sidelined with an upper-body injury. The Jets placed him on the injured reserve on Friday and Kekalainen says Laine is considered day-to-day.
Hopefully, both Dubois and Laine will be able to find success in their new homes and regroup after a difficult period with the teams that drafted them.