A week after Winnipeg Jets centre Pierre-Luc Dubois did his best to calm the NHL trade rumours that he wants to be traded to the Montreal Canadiens, they don’t seem to be simmering down at all.
This past Friday on the 32 Thoughts Podcast, co-host and Sportsnet NHL Insider painted the potential of Dubois getting moved to the Canadiens on the NHL trade market or on the free agent market in two years as almost inevitable.
“I think he told them, two years, then I’m going to test the market,” said Friedman regarding what he’s heard about the ongoing Dubois story in Winnipeg. “I’m with a lot of other people who said Montreal; I think that’s the most likely destination but like I tell people a lot can happen in two years, but we have to get from here to there.”
Then in a phone call with Montreal Hockey Now on Tuesday, an NHL executive source was asked what type of contract the Canadiens and restricted free agent centre Kirby Dach might agree on? It was also suggested that it would be a two-year contract. Not simply because of comparables like the two-year, $2.1M AAV contract that New York Rangers forward Kappo Kakko – who was drafted second overall at the 2019 NHL Draft, just one pick ahead of Dach – just signed, but also because, as Friedman pointed out, Pierre-Luc Dubois is on record saying that he intends to test the unrestricted free agent market in two years. The thinking being that if Dach didn’t reach his potential under two seasons playing for Canadiens head coach Martin St. Louis, then the Canadiens can free up cap space to sign Dubois. …if he’s not a Canadien by then.
“What if Dach isn’t a Canadien by then?” the source asked. “What if he’s what gets Dubois to Montreal. If the Habs want Dubois now, that might mean Dach.”
Back on July 15, The Athletic actually suggested that Kirby Dach could be an NHL trade piece going back in a Dubois to the Canadiens trade as well. Until Tuesday though, multiple inquiries by MHN to NHL sources had not indicated that Dach had become a key piece of any NHL trade return the Jets would want for Dubois. So does that suggestion above from an NHL Exec, who by the way has spoken to both Canadiens and Jets sources since July 15, mean things changed?