The much-rumored trade that would feature a swap of rising star center Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Winnipeg Jets for sniper Patrik Laine became a reality on Saturday morning.
After two benchings in two games and a disgraceful shift in the first period of the Blue Jackets 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, Dubois finally got his wish as he was sent packing to Winnipeg with a 2022 third round pick for Laine and defenseman Jack Roslovic. Like Dubois with Columbus, Roslovic had also asked for a trade. As part of the trade, the Columbus native signed a two-year deal with his hometown club that carries a $1.9 million hit against the salary cap.
Dubois recently signed a two-year, $10 million contract with the Blue Jackets, and Laine is in the last year of a two-year deal that carries a $6.7 million cap hit.
As reported here last night, the Boston Bruins were not part of the trade talks that intensified in the last 48 hours after ‘The Shift’ and another Dubois benching on Thursday. One source believed the Bruins were never really engaged in more than exploratory trade talks over Dubois.
One of the reasons why, could be the fact that Dubois’ deal would be up the same offseason that captain Patrice Bergeron, David Krejci, and Tuukka Rask are all set to potentially become unrestricted free agents for the first time in their careers. Also, Jake DeBrusk, Charlie McAvoy, Jeremy Lauzon, and Jakub Zboril will all be restricted free agents. Signing Dubois past 2022 would definitely mean losing two, maybe even three of those players and that’s not counting the expansion draft this coming offseason.
While Sweeney needed to consider those cap implications, one still has to think he would’ve gone all out for Dubois if he had more assets that would allow him to still keep Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, Charlie McAvoy, and Jack Studnicka. The problem was, the starting point for Blue Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen would’ve included either Pastrnak or McAvoy and maybe even Studnicka.
In a perfect world, the Bruins would’ve had a 1-2-3 punch up the middle of Dubois, Bergeron and Studnicka next season, but as we’ve learned oh too well over the last year, this world is far from perfect.
As good friend Ken Wiebe of Sportsnet pointed out though, this trade may go down as being a hockey trade, that given the circumstances for both teams and the players involved, could become as close to perfect as you can get on the NHL trade market.
Now on to the rest of the BHN Daily:
There may have not been a fit with the Blue Jackets on Dubois from the get-go but should Sweeney be burning the phones more and trying to help his team with a trade? My partner-in-crime, Joe Haggerty with his latest ‘Hagg Bag’ mailbag! (Boston Hockey Now)
On Friday it had appeared Matt Grzelcyk (lower-body) had escaped the injury bullet again and would be able to play tonight against the Philadelphia Flyers. On Saturday though, Boston Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy told the media that Grzelcyk would be out tonight and Connor Clifton will take his place. More on the game and your updated forward lines and D-pairings in your BHN Boston Bruins Gameday Preview (Boston Hockey Now)
What’s it like to cover a game in an empty TD Garden? My partner-in-crime Joe Haggerty explains. (Boston Hockey Now)
The Philadelphia Flyers confirmed that defenseman Shayne Gostisphere has not played this season because he tested positive for COVID. Thankfully the puck-moving rearguard is doing better and skating again but will not return until early February. (CBS Sports)
Speaking of Gostisphere, an NHL trade rumor involving him seems to have more than legs. Find out more in ‘Off The Record’ tomorrow morning across the National Hockey Now network. (‘Off The Record’)
In other COVID NHL news, Boston Bruins winger Brad Marchand has no sympathy for Washington Capitals captain Alexander Ovechkin and his three teammates that broke COVID protocol and are now missing at least four games each. (Boston Hockey Now)
Another NHL arena will sadly be empty for its swan song. Colleague and buddy Christian Arnold has more. (NYI Hockey Now)
Finally, a big welcome to Willie Ramirez and Danny Webster who have joined the team at Vegas Hockey Now! (Vegas Hockey Now)
For Murph’s Music Pick Of The Day, a tribute to the Buffalo Bills. I don’t know about you but I like cheering for underdogs, teams that always come up just short, breaking the collective heart of their rabid fan base, and teams looking for their first championship in forever or first-ever. I’m guessing this is from being tortured for so long by the Boston Red Sox? Anyhow, count me in on the Bills bandwagon because ‘No one circles the wagons more than the Buffalo Bills!’