Chatter that Winnipeg Jets’ forward Pierre-Luc Dubois might end up playing for the Montreal Canadiens has never really gone away, even if it has quieted down over the last couple of months. There was a time that Dubois-to-Montreal rumors were everywhere, but with how well the Jets are playing this season, few are talking about the center leaving a team that has a legitimate shot at making the playoffs and going on a run, should they add the right piece(s).
But, this past week, the talk of Dubois leaving Winnipeg picked up again when former NHLer and Sportsnet analyst Nick Kypreos appeared on Tim and Friends on Jan. 17. He insisted that Dubois isn’t likely to stay in Winnipeg for the long term, no matter how the team performs this season. “There is nothing that can change his mind from what I’m hearing,” said Kypreos.
In fact, Kypreos argued that if the Jets weren’t playing as well as they have been this year, the noise surrounding Dubois would be a lot louder. “He would be up there with Bo Horvat of people being traded if the Jets were on the outside looking in.”
The pending RFA has had a strong campaign with 21 goals and 51 points in 479 games. He would certainly bolster the Canadiens’ center depth, and while the Jets would be eager to sign an extension with the player, Kypreos says that even winning a Stanley Cup in Winnipeg couldn’t convince him to stay.
The good news is, the Jets will not lose the player without getting something in return. He can’t simply walk away from an RFA deal unless the Jets choose not to qualify him. He does have arbitration rights and there will be a nasty negotiation pending over the summer, but the likelihood is Dubois is traded at or before the NHL Entry Draft and it if the Canadiens are as interested in Dubois as he seems to be in them, could be the Habs that lands him.
Can the Jets Do What The Flames Did With Dubois Trade?
As Luke Fox of Sportsnet writes, “Dubois’ situation most resembles that of Matthew Tkachuk in Calgary last season: playoff-bound team, star player, only one more year of club control.” The Flames tried to lock up Tkachuk long-term. He told them he wasn’t planning on staying. It was then important for the team to trade him to remove distractions and get the best possible return. Calgary has stumbled a bit since then, but they got two great players; Jonathan Huberdeau and MacKenzie Weegar in the deal. Can the Jets get a couple of solid assets for Dubois? The Habs won’t be moving Nick Suzuki or Cole Caufield, but Kirby DAch and/or Josh Anderson certainly could be intriguing names to watch.
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