Well, that was fast.
While there have been whispers for a while regarding Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois’ discontent in Columbus, the issue really came to a head in the Blue Jackets’ Thursday night overtime loss to Tampa Bay, when a noticeably “detached” Dubois drew the ire and eventual benching of head coach John Tortorella.
Friday, the rumor mill jumped into overdrive, with an emerging report of the Winnipeg Jets leading the pack in pursuit of the big, talented pivot.
Saturday morning, just a few minutes ago, in fact, the two teams completed a deal, with the Jets sending scoring winger Patrik Laine and forward Jack Roslovic to Columbus for Dubois and a third-round draft pick.
Almost immediately, Twitter accounts were leapfrogging one another to proclaim the deal a win for one side or the other. The Rink’s flash poll of its writers suggests this appears (on paper and in theory anyway) to be a win-win for both clubs. As with any trade, the true winner(s) are always somewhat “to be determined” based on a myriad factors: Adjustment to new coaching staffs, teammates and cities, injuries, etc.
The fact is, these were both good, typically playoff-quality teams—each missing a part or two. The Jets gain the second-line center they have been struggling to nail down. And Dubois also brings a lot of the on-ice qualities the Jets like: Big, nasty, skilled. The downside? The Jets add a guy who has now shown he can be a petulant troublemaker in the dressing room—as if they had not seen enough of that with Evander Kane.
Some want to blame Dubois’ unhappiness in Columbus on Tortorella and his old-school, red-ass style of coaching. But there was scuttlebutt that Dubois did not really care for Columbus as a place to live, either. How will he feel about living on the windswept tundra of Winnipeg? Meh, at least there is a French-speaking community in the ‘Peg.
In Laine, the Jackets somewhat backfill the prolific goal scoring from the flank that left town with Artemi Panarin heading to New York. The knock on Laine is average mobility and maybe not enough nasty, but he is plenty effective in tight spaces—and his shot is both lethal and amply proven. And he has been criticized at times for a lack of focus. However, few NHL general managers have as much or more familiarity with Laine than fellow Finn Jarmo Kekalainen.
Columbus native Roslovic is the lucky strike extra here, and could very well eventually tip the equity in this trade toward the Blue Jackets—giving Tortorella yet another high motor, coachable, skilled and versatile middle-six forward to go with the likes of Oliver Bjorkstrand and Liam Foudy.
The Blue Jackets have extended Roslovic’s contract for two years at $3.8 million total. Laine becomes a restricted free agent on July 28. However, Columbus has significant cap flexibility due to this trade and other factors.
What do you think? Comment below.