The Columbus Blue Jackets open their 2020-21 season against a new divisional foe in the Nashville Predators on Thursday evening. Despite a ton of speculation and with all eyes on the unhappy star center, Pierre-Luc Dubois is still a member of the Blue Jackets. The chatter today was that two top suitors might be the Montreal Canadiens and Winnipeg Jets. Is either club a viable suitor?
Elliotte Friedman shared that he’d heard those involved in trade talks were “not screwing around.” More importantly, the Jackets have received serious offers and a trade could take place far sooner than anyone expected.
Winnipeg Jets and Dubois
As talks continue and rumors swirl, expect that the Jets will stay a part of the discussion and that makes a lot of sense. Diplomatically speaking, it is no secret that Patrik Laine’s future as a Jet is uncertain. As such, the two teams could entertain a straight across swap – Laine for Dubois – of these two 22-year-old players.
The two contracts are similar except that Laine will become an RFA this season, while Dubois has an extra year on his contract. Laine’s current contract comes with an AAV of $6.75 million while Dubois recently signed a contract at an AAV of $5 million. Columbus has the extra cap space to absorb the additional $1.75 million on Laine’s contract, and Winnipeg would obviously get that same room in return.
Makes perfect sense, right? Despite it making sense, TSN’s Darren Dreger suggested that neither side is close to a deal.
Montreal Canadiens and Dubois
It wasn’t that long ago that the Canadiens dealt Max Domi to Columbus in exchange for Josh Anderson. Montreal has undergone sizable changes and could be seen as the most revamped team heading into 2020-21. For them to add another young star player, from Quebec no less, would be nothing short of a small coup by Habs GM Marc Bergevin. The obvious question would be what Montreal would need to give up whilst trying to acquire Dubois.
The easy answer – a lot. If it was a traditional trade, then you would have to think that Nick Suzuki or Jesperi Kotkaniemi might need to be involved. The other option would be a pile of draft picks in exchange for Dubois. That is reasonable considering Montreal has 14 picks for the 2021 NHL draft including a selection in every round as well as two – 2nds, three – 3rds, 4ths, and 5th round picks. I would have no idea what assortment of picks it would take, but I am imagine it would be a hefty haul.
Dubois Trade Hurdles
The one problem with Montreal trading for Dubois is their current cap space which currently sits at approximately $700k. Considering both Kotkaniemi and Suzuki are still on there entry level contracts means they would need to make significant space to add Dubois $5 million.
Even though Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekäläinen knows full well he is holding a valuable asset, he must have an approximate timeline as to when he would like to complete this transaction. The clock is certainly ticking!
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