What a difference a day can make. Following Pierre-Luc Dubois’ benching against Tampa Bay on Thursday which saw him post a career-low 3:55 of ice time, it appeared that trade chatter had started to pick up around the Columbus center. Now, it appears that he could be getting his trade request granted in the very near future. TSN’s Darren Dreger reports (Twitter link) that the Blue Jackets are closing in on a Dubois trade with teams being notified that they’re no longer being considered. He adds Winnipeg as one of the teams that’s still in the mix.
To that end, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic adds (via Twitter) that Columbus plans to make Dubois a healthy scratch for the rematch against the Lightning on Saturday if he’s still on the roster by then.
At this point, the situation is well-known. While the two sides were able to agree on a two-year, $10MM bridge deal just before training camp, Dubois’ request to be dealt was not rescinded. Although he claimed that he would continue to play hard while waiting for a resolution, that hasn’t happened yet, leading to what has become a very public benching.
The Jets have a pair of players who are believed to want out as well in wingers Patrik Laine and RFA Jack Roslovic; Pierre LeBrun of TSN and The Athletic suggests (Twitter link) that both players could make sense as being involved in the deal if they wind up being the eventual destination. A return involving those players would certainly allow Columbus to yield a substantial return although it would create a sizable hole down the middle, a position that they’re already weak at. Meanwhile, Winnipeg would lose some firepower on the wing but would get a controllable second center to put behind Mark Scheifele for the foreseeable future.
In a follow-up tweet, LeBrun adds that the Ducks also remain interested in Dubois. They’ve had interest since this whole process began and would certainly give them a much-needed boost down the middle. They have a little more than $6MM in LTIR room at the moment, per CapFriendly, but that amount will be reduced by $800K once Brendan Guhle returns. That still leaves enough room to absorb Dubois but just barely. Having said that, they’re not a great fit in terms of providing immediate value in a trade though their prospect pool has several high-quality prospects including center Trevor Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale.
In his report, Dreger notes that this is a complicated process which can mean several different things. Depending on who is involved, there could be salary cap elements at play although a deal involving Laine and Dubois is something both teams can afford. If there isn’t a center coming their way though, it’s possible that another move has to be agreed upon to give them one. And, of course, there are quarantine issues to deal with and plan around with there being different rules in different jurisdictions. Dreger suggests that these could be resolved as quickly as Saturday so Dubois’ poor showing last night could wind up being the impetus that ultimately gets a trade completed.