NHL Trade Rumors: Pierre-Luc Dubois Talks Heating Up Amid Blue Jackets Drama

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorJanuary 23, 2021

Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (18) plays against the Nashville Predators in an NHL hockey game Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois may soon have a new home, which would end a fractious relationship between player and team.

"Columbus is closing in on a trade involving Pierre Luc Dubois," TSN's Darren Dreger reported Friday. "It's a complicated process that could be resolved as early as tomorrow. Teams have been told they're out. Hard to say who's in, but it's believed Winnipeg is among them."

Pierre LeBrun of TSN listed the teams that have inquired about Dubois:

Pierre LeBrun @PierreVLeBrun

It goes without saying that I think other teams have as well. Now the question is which teams can satisfy what the CBJ want. This won't be a futures-only deal. I think Columbus wants this to be a hockey deal if/when they proceed.

LeBrun mentioned the Anaheim Ducks in particular, tweeting that they "are still trying on Dubois as well. They've been on it from the beginning." He then added later in the evening that the three finalists appeared to be the Ducks, Winnipeg Jets and Montreal Canadiens.

Jackie Spiegel of Sporting News provided a timeline of key moments between Dubois and the Blue Jackets, most notably those involving Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella.

The coach and Dubois had "notable clashes" last season, per Brian Hedger of the Columbus Dispatch. This included a public spat on the bench during a play-in series against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Dubois and the Jackets agreed to a two-year, $10 million contract extension before the season, but word soon emerged that he had requested a trade. Tortorella confirmed that in an interview with 97.1 The Fan's Rothman and Ice.

"He wants out. He spoke to the team as we do here," Tortorella said, per Sean Leahy of NBC Sports. "It's a little bit different [situation] than [Artemi Panarin] and [Sergei Bobrovsky]. This is a 22-year-old kid; [it] doesn't happen that often. He has been honest with the group. I wish he was a little bit more honest as far as reasons why. Still haven't really gotten to that, but I think he needs to speak on that. I won't."

On Thursday, Tortorella benched Dubois for more than the last two periods against the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"[Dubois] doesn't get benched for one shift of last night's game," Tortorella said, per Aaron Portzline of The Athletic. "This has eroded and it kept on eroding in the first five games."

Portzline called it "a wandering, aimless, effortless span of time in which Dubois didn't battle for the puck and took nearly 10 seconds to skate from the corner of the rink to the Blue Jackets bench for a line change."

And now it appears Dubois' days with Columbus are numbered. He will be a healthy scratch Saturday against Tampa Bay, per Portzline.

Dubois, the third pick in the 2016 draft, has 66 goals and 93 assists in three-plus seasons with the Blue Jackets. He has one goal in five games this year.