The saying goes, ‘Anyone can be traded.’ In hockey, that saying continues to float around in the NHL atmosphere because Wayne Gretzky was traded — it happens to be his birthday today. That said, it seems clear that while the reality is that anyone can be moved, it’s also clear that it could take a lot more than Pierre-Luc Dubois to pluck Nick Suzuki away from the Montreal Canadiens.
As per a quote in Elliotte Friedman’s recent 31 Thoughts article, “Before the season, Montreal might have considered the possibility of Nick Suzuki as part of a trade for [Pierre-Luc] Dubois. But any chance of that was eliminated by his performance to start the year. His growth is exceptional.” In other words, when Dubois became available, Montreal considered Suzuki as part a potential deal. They changed their minds when they saw how good a player Suzuki was becoming.
With six points in six games, perhaps it’s still too early to say that Suzuki has the potential to be a top scorer in the NHL this season. That said, with only 77 NHL games on his resume, and at only 21 years of age, it would be hard to argue that he hasn’t looked lights-out better than Dubois in multiple categories or that he’s not one of the early bright spots of this young 2020-21 NHL campaign.
Suzuki has been nothing short of incredible. As Arpon Basu of The Athletic notes, “he produces highlights by the bushel, but it’s the more subtle aspects of his game that make him special.” Canadiens head coach Claude Julien would agree. He notes, “The way he carries himself… like a veteran who’s been through a lot in the league, and yet he’s such a young player.” He adds, “He has a lot of assets. I think we all realize he’s a good hockey player who has an important impact on our team.”
In short, Suzuki is a special player and the Montreal Canadiens are starting to realize it.
The Argument of Dubois For Suzuki Is Hard to Make
Yes, Dubois is a strong center and the Winnipeg Jets now have a good player on their roster. Like the Canadiens, the Jets are deep down the middle. So too, Dubois likely being distracted by the drama of the pending trade may have affected his production to date. Good luck trying to convince the Canadiens or Habs fans that any of that matters.
If you had to ask, one could make the argument that Bergevin wouldn’t even consider a trade that sends Suzuki to Columbus for Dubois straight up. That’s how valuable the Canadiens are starting to realize Suzuki is, or could be to this roster.
And, it’s not like this is a pointless argument. From most accounts, if the Canadiens were going to be in on the Dubois trade talks – which it has been reported they were for a brief moment — Suzuki was among the players Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen was reportedly most interested in.
In the end, speculation is that talks between the two teams never went very far. We have to assume it’s because Suzuki was the sticking point to any deal and for the Canadiens, that was a non-starter.
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