The Pierre-Luc Dubois situation in Columbus is getting dicier by the day. A trade is inevitable, but the question remains to where, and when. Numerous teams have been kicking tires on him, with the most interested listed in the tweet below. However, LeBrun later elaborated that these were likely not the only interested teams. Dubois is a player most teams would love to have, but that doesn’t mean it’s realistic or smart for every team to try and acquire him. In this article, I’ll be sharing my thoughts about him coming to Boston because I have seen numerous fans clamoring for him, even though they are not one of the teams reportedly interested.
List of teams that I believe have inquired with Columbus on Pierre-Luc Dubois, obviously some with more seriousness than others (in no particular order):
Anaheim, Minnesota, Montreal, Winnipeg, Calgary, Ottawa, Rangers, Buffalo, Philadelphia, Detroit, Washington and Arizona.
— Pierre LeBrun (@PierreVLeBrun) January 22, 2021
For those of you who haven’t been following what’s going on in Columbus right now, let me explain. It all began when he politely asked for a trade before the season started. The request also came before he signed his new deal. Speculation as to where he might end up began immediately, and it’s likely that nearly every team at least kicked the tires on it. The heat only turned up on these trade rumors once Dubois signed a very reasonable, two-year bridge contract worth $10 million ($5 million cap hit per year). However, nothing came of it before training camp had even begun. The rumors largely stopped swirling around this time, but now they’re back and more frequent than ever.
In order to force the Blue Jackets’ hand, Dubois has clearly been trying to play terribly. Just last night, he got benched for the final two periods after going out and having a truly terrible shift where he showed little-to-no effort or desire to do anything. It is deeply unfortunate to see this happening. There are many people who are mad at Dubois for doing this because it’s hurting the team. However, I can’t really say I blame him. The Blue Jackets clearly don’t intend to honor his request as things stand now. But, if he continues to play this poorly, he’s essentially going to give them no choice. The mutual disdain between him and head coach John Tortorella is palpable, and if they don’t get rid of him soon, it’s going to create much bigger problems for CBJ.
Dubois to Boston Isn’t Realistic or Smart
For Starters, He’s A Center
The primary, and really only, reason I don’t want to see Dubois in Boston is that he’s a center. That is the one position where the Bruins are undeniably 100% set right now. They have Bergeron-Krejci-Coyle-Kuraly as their four centers, which is one heck of a group. They also have Jack Studnicka, who is a natural center and likely successor to at least the second-line, currently playing wing. So, there isn’t any room for Dubois at his natural position. He would have to play wing, which I don’t think he wants to do, and he may not be as good there.
It is a common misconception that all centers can move to the wing and be perfectly fine. While most if not all are capable of it for a game or two, and some are even very good at it, there are a lot of centers who would see their play drop off significantly if they moved to the wing. Look at Charlie Coyle for example. Is Coyle capable of playing wing? Yes, particularly if it’s just for a short period of time. But, is it ideal? Absolutely not. Coyle is simply not as good on the wing. He just doesn’t look comfortable there, which is completely understandable.
You can’t expect guys to be able to switch positions and play at the same level. If they can, that’s great. But you can’t count on it. So, that’s why getting Dubois wouldn’t necessarily be smart for Boston. I don’t think he’s ever really played wing at the NHL level, so they’d be betting on him being the kind of player who can switch positions and not see their play fall off. I’m not convinced he is that, and so I think it’s too risky of a gamble.
Boston Doesn’t Have the Assets
Another reason I’m glad the Bruins are apparently not interested in Dubois is that they don’t have the assets to give up and not create bigger issues. I’m sure that’s a big reason why Sweeney hasn’t really even kicked the tires on him. The Blue Jackets are not looking for prospects or picks. They want a real hockey trade. So, the Bruins will have to give up a comparable player to Dubois, which is not a smart decision, and I’m honestly not sure they even have one they would give up.
Dubois is just 22 years old, so Columbus will be looking for at least one young forward in return. Someone like Bjork wouldn’t be enough for them on his own, which means they’d have to give up at least one other good young player, thus opening up a hole in the lineup. That’s not a good idea. Plus, who would that second player even be? Studnicka is far too unproven to be enticing enough to CBJ and DeBrusk isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Kase is fairly young (25 to be exact) but fairly injury-prone and the Blue Jackets already have enough problems with injury due to the style Tortorella makes them play.
Outside of them, the Bruins don’t have any other great, proven young forwards that would be of interest to the Blue Jackets. So, even if the Bruins were willing to give up multiple players, I’m not sure they could come up with a package that makes sense for both sides.
Not only do I not see a fit for Dubois in Boston, but they simply don’t have the resources to give up and not make a bigger problem for themselves in order to get him. Don’t get me wrong, I think Dubois is an amazing player and in a perfect world, I’d love to see him in Boston. But the fit just isn’t there right now due to a logjam at center, and the Bruins would be stupid to give up several young players whose ceiling is still unknown in order to get just one in return.
I sincerely hope this situation gets resolved in the near future though. I hate to see this happen to such a good player. Tortorella is the kind of coach where you either love him or hate him, and it’s clear now that Dubois is in the latter group, just like Panarin and Bobrovsky were. I understand that CBJ’s management doesn’t want to lose a player like Dubois, but they have no choice. It’s either him or Tortorella and the decisions they’ve made in the past make it pretty clear Tortorella isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. So, they need to do right by Dubois and by their team by trading him. The longer they wait, the worse it’ll get, and if things keep going at the current rate, it’ll be past the point of no return soon.
-Lydia Murray (@lydia_murray12)
Featured image courtesy of Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers
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