Hershey, PA – January 26, 2021—
Franchise Blockbuster Deal Between Columbus, Winnipeg
Over the weekend, the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Winnipeg Jets have completed a deal involving three former first round draft picks in a four-piece deal. On the 23rd of January 2021, the Blue Jackets have traded center ice-man Pierre-Luc Dubois with a 2022 third-round draft pick in exchange for winger Patrik Laine and the signing rights to center Jack Roslovic. This is going to be my biggest piece to date, so let us cover each piece, what has happened since, the feedback and backlash, and personal opinions on what has gone down involving this move.
2022 NHL Entry Draft- Round 3
The Winnipeg Jets obtained an unknown, and currently, the least known piece of the deal. The Jets are fulfilling their draft cupboard with four future draft selections in the first 100. This also brings the organization back to seven draft picks in the 2022 Draft, after dealing their fourth rounder in that draft to reacquire center Paul Stastny from the Vegas Golden Knights.
The Columbus Blue Jackets dispose of yet another future product for the organization, as they are now without their third and fifth rounders in this draft; however, they do have an extra seventh courtesy of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.
Both teams have strong draft histories and having more luck keeping those players on their rosters longer than other franchises around the National Hockey League.
Here is the current draft order for both teams:
Round One: Own first
Round Two: Own second
Round Three: Own third plus CBJ
Round Five: Own Fifth
Round Six: Own Sixth
Round Seven: Own Seventh
Round One: Own first
Round Two: Own second
Round Four: Own Fourth
Round Six: Own Sixth
Round Seven: Own Seventh plus ANA
C Pierre-Luc Dubois
The 2016 third overall selection was the Blue Jackets’ undisputed number one center since his arrival to the Buckeye state. Dubois is a towering 6-foot 3-inch power forward, being the highest draft player to come from the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles since goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury in 2003. Dubois was drafted by Columbus as a center, even though he was playing on the left wing in the 2015-16 season. PLD spent the 2016-17 season with Cape Breton as a center to be developed as such prior to playing in the National Hockey League, racking up 55 points in 48 games that season.
All three seasons in Columbus, Dubois was their number one center, and played in all their playoff games those three seasons. Dubois’ rookie season, he had 48 points in all 82 games, with four points in the six-game defeat to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 2018-19 season has produced his career highs, with 61 points in all 82 games played, with five points in 10 games played in the postseason. Over the shortened 2019-2020 season, he was the leading point scorer on Columbus with 49 points in 70 games played, with 10 points in 10 playoff games in the bubble in Toronto. So far this season, Dubois scored one goal in five games played this season. Adding his number together, PLD has earned 159 points in 239 regular season games, and 19 points in 26 playoff games.
C Jack Roslovic
Jack is returning home to the Buckeye state. Roslovic was the 25th overall selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, aka the Connor McDavid draft. Roslovic is a winger/center that was in a limited role in Winnipeg with their offensive winger depth between Laine, Nikolaj Ehlers, Andrew Ladd, Blake Wheeler, Dustin Byfuglien, Matthew Perrault, Kristian Vessalainen, and Schiefle, Kevin Hayes, Stastny, and Bryan Little down the middle. Roslovic is from Columbus, Ohio, being the third born Columbus player in the NHL, behind Kole and Keifer Sherwood. Kole, Keifer, and Jack were all teammates with the Ohio Blue Jackets development program in Columbus. Prior to arriving in Winnipeg, Jack also played with the US National Team Development Program and the University of Miami (Ohio), for his freshman year in college.
The 23 year old center has earned 67 points in 180 career games with the Winnipeg Jets, and five assists in 20 playoff games so far. He also put up 83 points in 97 games with the Manitoba Moose of the American Hockey League.
RW Patrik Laine
Finish-winger Patrik Laine was the second overall draft selection in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, ahead of Pierre-Luc Dubois, but behind Auston Matthews. Laine is a massive 6’ 5” power sniper with an elite wrist shot, far ahead of many of his teammates and opposing players around the league. Laine has scored 250 points in 306 career games with Winnipeg, with 140 of them being goals. In 24 career playoff games, he has scored 16 points in 24 games played.
Both forwards add playoff experience, regular season, and elite goal-scoring on the wings for the Columbus Blue Jackets, and Winnipeg adds an elite second-line center behind center Mark Schiefle.
What Has Happened?
Since the deal has happened, all players involved in the deal are now in their COVID-19 protocol as Dubois and Laine had to cross over the American Canadian border. Roslovic held out of playing in training camp with the Winnipeg Jets, as he requested a trade out of Winnipeg, and stayed home in Columbus. After the trade was complete, Roslovic has signed a two year contract extension with his new club, worth $3.8M million dollars. For this season, his cap hit is $2,030,952 with a base salary of $1.3M million, and $1,838,362 for the 2021-22 season, but a salary of $2.5M million dollars. After this contract, he will be able to have arbitration rights for his next contract, when the 2022-23 season starts.
Columbus just recently signed Pierre-Luc Dubois prior to the start of the 2021 regular season to a two year, $10M million-dollar contract. All his salary was shipped successfully to Winnipeg. Winger Patrik Laine is in the final year of his two year, $13.5M million-dollar contract, worth $6.75M million on the salary cap. As his contract is backloaded, he is making $7.5M million dollars this season. To balance the cap hits between Columbus and Winnipeg, the Jets have elected to hold 26% of his contract for this season, or $1.755M million dollars for the remainder of this season. Laine has arbitration rights after this season, and his qualifying rights minimum will be 10% more than his $7.5M million dollars.
Feedback and Backlash
To start before going into full details, all three players on their rosters did confirm publicly request trades out of their organization. Roslovic was the only one of the three to opt to not report to training camp in Winnipeg, waiting to sign and play with a new team rather than return to Manitoba.
Prior to the contact extension with Columbus, Pierre-Luc Dubois made it public that he requested a trade, according to sources of TSN and Sportsnet. Once the contract was signed, he made the request public to get out of the Columbus organization. Before the regular season started, he even told his teammates and players in the locker room he wanted out of Columbus, but did not give a reason why, according to Columbus head coach John Tortorella.
Dubois’ last game in a Columbus uniform was an overtime loss was in the team’s home opener against the Tampa Bay Lightning, where he played just 3:55. All his minutes played were in the first period. His final shift has been criticized and replayed for all to see and watch, where he skated around and lost a defensive battle to get the puck from Tampa forward Tyler Johnson, and casually skated back to the home team bench, and did not touch the ice again that night.
“Last night he didn’t get benched for one shift.. it has eroded over the first five games… I’m coaching athletes… I will not allow our standard of play and culture and how we go about our business here change. We gotta keep growing because that’s how we’ve survived in this league and trying to be a better team in this league and getting into playoffs and hopefully someday progressing in playoffs.” Said head coach John Tortorella on Friday morning after the loss the Tampa Bay.
“ I have to be better and I have to be better in a lot of aspects: offensively, defensively, forechecking, backchecking, powerplay, faceoffs, you name it. You know it is not at the level I want it to be at. You know I only have one job and it is to go out there and help the team win.” said PLD Friday morning during a press conference after an optional skate.
“Some of the stories we have seen over the past couple years was this team, beating Tampa in the playoffs. This is not a fluke.. his play is not good enough… cannot let it slide, not from one player,” said NHL Network Analyst and former NY Ranger and Blue Jacket forward Mike Rupp. “PLD is a top ten player in the league for puck battles won, didn’t look like it there” commented Rupp on the stats from Stu Grimson and on the play that got him benched.
“They aren’t going to move him for nothing, he is not that type of player,” said NHL Network Analyst and New Jersey Devils legend Ken Denayko.
“Both sides are trying to work through this and Dubois is going to play in good faith” said Darren Dreger of TSN prior to the start of the 2021 regular season.
“I know I am going to work hard, I’m going to have a good attitude, a good teammate, so I hope it is not a distraction.” Pierre-Luc Dubois said before the season.
“The Pierre-Luc situation, we handled it right away in our first team meeting,” claimed Torts.
“You guys are really dissecting this, slow down boys” commented Tortorella on Dubois’ reduced ice time in the first road game against the Detroit Red Wings. “You’ll know when I bench someone.”
“There is something going on there between Dubois and Tortorella” claimed members of the media.
“Told you. I gotta call him as I see it. “ said Torts on the benching comment from the game against Detroit about the play of Dubois in the home opener against Tampa.
“It is way above my pay grade. I got 20 other guys to worry about on the team” said captain Nick Foligno on the benching of Dubois.
“It wasn’t the first time I got benched by Torts. I wasn’t the first guy that got benched by Torts.” Commented PLD on the Friday before the trade.
“For GM Jarmmo Kekalainen it is real simple: you either trade Pierre-Luc Dubois and try to make the best deal that you can or you replace the coach.” Said Craig Button of TSN. “These two are not going to be able to coexist because they are they don’t wanna coexist.”
“When you play as a team, then you grow as a team. Not one person is going to try to affect that and bring us down from that standard. I won’t allow it,” said Tortorella
“I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade is done by the end of the weekend,” said Darren Dreger on insider trading. “The Winnipeg Jets appear to be the frontrunner, a deal is not done, and speculation is Montreal and Anaheim are in it as an example… star for star… Roslovic could also be involved… 20 plus general managers expressing interest in this player…”
“The price is steep,” said Dreger on the trade analysis. “Chevy made the trade from two guys that wanted out to a one-two punch down the middle between Schiefle and Dubois.”
“too bad it did not work out for Dubois or Columbus… picked to be number one center… all players wanted out of current situation…” said Jackets analyst and former tough-guy Jody Shelly on the Columbus broadcast prior to the Columbus-Tampa afternoon game.
“I think it was shock.. say hellos and goodbyes.. maybe see them in playoffs.. new chapter, new place, with new players… couple Finnish guys I know” said Laine on reaction of trade Saturday morning.
“Laine has said he wanted to play with top players…” said TSN analyst Sara Orlesky on trade… “would’ve never done trade without elite defenseman or center… already have elite wingers… two most popular players since return to Winnipeg were Byfuglien and Laine… Stastny could be moved to wing… Ehlers and Laine are very close friends… news came down prior to morning skate against the Ottawa Senators”
“Columbus gets one of the best pure goal scorers in the NHL… Roslovic motivated to play on hometown team.. Winnipeg deadly down the middle with Schiefle, Dubois, Stastny… Twitter talked about how Columbus won this deal,” analyzed Ken Denayko on reaction to PLD deal, “… Dubois joins dad in organization… Laine will certainly light lamp in Columbus.”
“…speculation started since the pause for Patrik Laine and Winnipeg Jets first surfaced… Chevy did due diligence and talked to many teams… Kek felt he needed number one center in return… not type of package out there for Dubois… best deal involved Laine, who is a star… all Canadian teams requested 7 days with 4 negative tests for Dubois before he can play… to early to speculate on long term deal with PLD and agent Pat Brisson… do not make trades like this unless convinced and committed to sign players long term… Maurice best communicator in sport, easy to get message across to Dubois, and listens to messages from players… more interesting between Tortorella and Laine.. will help power play, shoot pucks, and score goals. Well work well on both sides.” Dreger on trade.
“Arguably best center trio in North Division and in NHL between Schiefle, Dubois, and Adam Lowry,” comments TSN analyst Craig Button on reaction to the deal.
“Toughest part of the business… teammates on first road trip… best friends since the beginning... would chirp and joke with each other… roommates the last three years, friends the last five… for sure will miss a lot… he cares a lot, hates losing, criticizes himself more than I do …,” commented Ehlers on reaction to Laine departure.
“Disappointing.. nature of pro sports… regrets on relationship with Patrik… don’t have teams move on without recoup, recap, and recount. As veteran player and captain, responsibility is not just Laine but entire team, and how to focus and compete on the ice… regrets are some of the frustrations over the years, positive relationship with Patty… could’ve communicated better instead of getting frustrated…,” commented captain Wheeler on Laine.
“Politics were involved… Columbus and PLD didn’t agree…” according to Peter Tessier of Hockeybuzz.
This is classic Jarmo Kekalainen. The Columbus general manager has pulled franchise moving deals from Seth Jones to Artemi Panarin to Matt Duchene to this one. The question always comes back to why Columbus superstars leave. This is a budget team. This team will compete and play with house money to go far, and they have shown they are not a joke after playoff success and victories. Patrik Laine is in line of the Finnish connection between him, Mikko Koivu, and Kek. Roslvoic returns home and will get ice time for sure, whether its first, second or third line. Two years ago, Columbus lost Panarin, Duchene, Sergei Borbovsky, Ryan Dzingel, Adam McQuaid, and Keith Kinkaid in one offseason. This is a win for Columbus in adding two former first round picks that are guaranteed to score.
Winnipeg got an elite number one center that will be their second line center in Dubois. He can play all sides of the ice and will succeed under the Maurice coaching style, and being close to his father.
I know there was discussion on Laine wanting to go to Los Angeles according to Eklund of Hockeybuzz. I know center of attention, coaching, and contract negotiations were issues with Dubois according to many sources. As many as twenty teams were involved including New York Rangers, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Florida, Buffalo, Winnipeg, Montreal, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Detroit, Colorado, Tampa, and Vegas.
Winner: Draw (overall); short term (Columbus); Long-term (Columbus)