On the eve of their home opener, the Columbus Blue Jackets have announced they they have sent 2016 3rd-overall pick Pierre-Luc Dubois back to his junior team, the QMJHL’s Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. A high pick in his first pro experience, Dubois did not stick out in the preseason; still, many expected him to stay with the Blue Jackets, at least through the ten-game “tryout” period. Instead, the 18-year-old center will head back to juniors without an NHL game under his belt.
The Blue Jackets selection of Dubois with the #3 pick was believed to be a reach by many. However, that only added fuel to the fire for those who believed that Columbus really saw something in the young scorer. Having traded Ryan Johansen last season, it is no secret that the Jackets are on the hunt for a franchise center. It was believed that they planned on having Dubois step right into that role. In four preseason games though, Dubois was held without a point and was a -4, with the consensus being that he looked over-matched with the pro game. Rather than get a longer look this season, Columbus has elected to send Dubois back to Cape Breton, where he scored 99 points last season, and hope that he comes to camp next year ready to earn an NHL spot.
In a corresponding mover, the Blue Jackets have recalled Alexander Wennberg from Cleveland of the AHL. The 22-year-old will now play Dubois’ role of young center looking to be a difference-maker on a team without much depth and ability down the middle.