23-year-old centerman Pierre-Luc Dubois has had quite an interesting career after the Columbus Blue Jackets drafted him third overall in 2016. Things looked great for him after the 2018-19 season, where the 20-year-old had 61 points in his second season and played a key role as the team won their first playoff series in franchise history. Dubois faltered the next season, though, and after just one goal in five games the following year, Dubois was dealt to the Winnipeg Jets in a one-for-one swap for second-overall pick Patrik Laine. A tough season continued for him after the trade, raising doubts about his long-term future.
Dubois got his game back under him this season, though, notching a career-high 28 goals as he averaged nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game. A restricted free agent this offseason, however, it doesn’t appear as though Dubois wants a long-term contract. In fact, Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman is reporting that Dubois has informed Winnipeg that he wants to test unrestricted free agency in 2024. The Jets are still hoping to convince him to stay long-term, though, per the report.
It means that Dubois could either take the team to arbitration for a one-year contract or accept his $6MM qualifying offer. It might be a safe bet to just take the qualifying offer, as it’s likely around what the arbitrator would award anyways considering his inconsistent performance over the past few seasons, if not more.
As Sportsnet’s Ken Wiebe notes, it puts Winnipeg in a tough situation. Dubois evidently wants to see a long-term improved situation in Winnipeg and a clear path back to Cup contention. Is Winnipeg willing to potentially go more all-in than they should in order to keep Dubois around long-term, or are they better off hitting the reset button? That’s the decision general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff will have to grapple with.