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Dubois Possibly Available, Likely To Be Linked To Montreal Canadiens

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NHL Trade

Pierre-Luc Dubois has put his future in Winnipeg in doubt, and, with Montreal Canadiens likely to be linked to the Jets center, they should think twice before pursuing any deal of the sort.

After touching on Pierre-Luc Dubois’ status in late April during a segment of 32 Thoughts, NHL Insider Elliotte Friedman reported on Wednesday night that Dubois had informed the Winnipeg Jets that he would not be signing a long-term deal with them.

“Pierre-Luc Dubois has informed the Winnipeg Jets that his current plan is to test unrestricted free agency when eligible in the summer of 2024,” Friedman said during his segment. “Now the Jets have control of the process until then, and what we’re also hearing though is that they wish to keep him and have him as a Jet for a long time to come.”

Dubois is an RFA going into this summer with arbitration rights and is set to reach full autonomy in the summer of 2024. In order to try and get ahead of the curve, the Jets, similarly to the Columbus Blue Jackets in the winter of 2021, might look to move Dubois now to a team he’s willing to sign a long-term extension with to maximize the return on their asset. The last time Dubois was made available, many were willing to include names like Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Cole Caufield, Alexander Romanov and a quantity of high draft picks to acquire the Quebec-born center. With the Canadiens being in a far different situation 18 months later, they should approach the situation with caution.

The Jets are likely looking at a retool after a string of disappointing years, and a shake-up of their core could be in order. With Dubois openly against signing long-term in Winnipeg, trade rumours will be swirling around, and, with the draft being in Montreal, the Canadiens will undoubtedly be linked to the rugged center. Should the Montreal Canadiens not walk out of the 2022 NHL Draft with one of the top centers like Shane Wright or Logan Cooley, trading for Dubois could be an option, but is it the right one?

Montreal Canadiens Should Remain Patient

With the way the Montreal Canadiens finished this past season, it’s clear they’re not one player away from being contenders. They need to add to their defence and goaltending positions in a very real way and could very go on a short rebuild of their own over the next years. The hope that many have is for the Canadiens to finish low again next year to get a shot at one of Connor Bedard, Matvei Michkov or Adam Fantilli for the 2023 NHL Draft. Having two lottery picks in back-to-back drafts would propel the Canadiens to the next level and would provide them with some elite firepower down the line.

There is merit to going toward a more dedicated rebuild than Habs fans have seen in the past, as the club sorely lacks elite talent in their ranks at the moment outside of Nick Suzuki and Cole Caufield. They have some good prospects coming up like Joshua Roy, Riley Kidney, Sean Farrell and Kaiden Guhle, but still require more game-breaking talent if they’re going to measure up to the best in the NHL. Bringing in Dubois would assuredly remove the Canadiens from the possibility of being a bottom-feeding team in the NHL next season, as Montreal would have a 1-2 punch that could allow them to rival bubble teams in the Eastern Conference.

The Cost And Implications Of A Dubois Trade

The Jets would likely ask for a top prospect like Kaiden Guhle, Calgary’s 1st round pick, a center like Christian Dvorak and possibly more in any deal for their young center, and that is simply not a price the Canadiens should be entertaining at this time. The other factor to take into consideration, besides the astronomical price the Jets are likely to ask for, is Dubois’ next contract. The rugged center just finished a 2-year deal at $5M per annum, and any long-term deal he signs is likely to be much more expensive on an annual basis. With Nick Suzuki already making $7.875M for the next eight years, it’s pretty unlikely that Dubois would accept less than what the Canadiens’ top center is making at this junction.

Either way you slice it, there are pros and cons for being aggressive on Dubois, but the wisest choice to be made is standing pat and continuing to replenish an already respectable prospect pool with more elite talent. The Montreal Canadiens have options this summer and Hughes could take this in many directions, but a player like Dubois is a sure bet to help any team get better in a hurry. It’s more a question of timing, and that’s a factor the Canadiens cannot take lightly.

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