In today’s NHL rumor rundown, there are a ton of questions floating around regarding the trade between the Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets. Why these two teams? What’s next for Patrik Laine and Pierre-Luc Dubois? Will either player want to stay long-term? Why didn’t the Jets target a defenseman? Meanwhile, the Edmonton Oilers are thinking about giving a couple of opportunities to some very deserving young players. Finally, why didn’t Vancouver Canucks defenseman Tyler Myers gets suspended for his hit on Joel Armia?
Story Behind the Laine and Dubois Trade
It was all over social media and the hockey headlines on Friday night that Dubois was about to be moved and could be traded as early as Saturday by the Blue Jackets. It was believed the Jets were the favorites, but that both the Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks were in on the talks as well. Jackets GM Jarmo Kekalainen pulled the trigger on a trade hours after the buzz began and sent Laine and a third-round pick in 2022 to the Blue Jackets for Dubois and Jack Roslovic.
It was a bit odd that more than 20 teams were rumored to be in on Dubois but the Blue Jackets moved the player to the team everyone was assumed to be involved from the get-go but a deal wasn’t done before the season started. Immediate speculation was that Dubois’ benching against the Tampa Bay Lightning this week was the impetus behind the move.
When asked if the fact that Dubois and coach John Tortorella were not getting along was why Kekalainen pulled the trigger on a trade, he said, “No, no it’s not.” He added the team had been working on this for a while and were simply waiting for the right deal to fall on the table. Perhaps ironically, it was the deal everyone was already talking about that was the right one.
What’s Next For Jets and Dubois?
Months ago, when it was first learned that the Jets were likely to trade Laine, the buzz was that they team would like to get a top defenseman in the deal. Jets GM Cheveldayoff said in a statement about instead acquiring Dubois: “To get a top center in this environment is simply unheard of. We wouldn’t have moved a Patrik Laine for someone that didn’t fit the criteria of a top centerman or top defenseman.”
The assumption here is that Dubois will slot in as the second-line center, moving Paul Stastny down. Whether or not the Jets look to make an additional move to send Statsny out is unclear. After all, he was primarily brought in to work with Laine and the Jets are now a bit light for wingers with depth down the middle.
Dubois will need to quarantine before joining the Jets on the ice and while he’s got one more season on his deal, it will be interesting to see how quickly the Jets try to work out an extension with the center once they are able to do so.
What’s Next for Laine, Roslovic and the Blue Jackets?
There was also some concern that the team who traded for Laine might have to worry about whether or not he would re-sign. For the Blue Jackets, the question becomes, will Laine want to stick around long-term? Laine’s agent Andy Scott seems to have put any concern to bed on the matter. He said:
“We spoke to Patrik after he met with Jets staff. He is very excited about Columbus. He has already received texts from his new teammates and spoke to his new coach and GM. We’re making plans for him to get to Columbus asap to begin his quarantine.”
Kekalainen also said that he’s comfortable with what the future holds for the team and Laine’s future on it. He has already held preliminary talks with the sniper about a contract extension and the hockey club is interested in establishing a long-term relationship. Aaron Portzline reports there are more serious talks to follow and there’s buzz that the two sides may have already know what a long-term extension looks like.
Roslovic Will Play Center
As for Roslovic, Elliotte Friedman reports the two sides have already worked out a deal. It is a two-year contract for Roslovic with a $1.9 million annual average. It doesn’t appear the winger will slot into the lineup right away but he will join a lot sooner than Laine will.
Kekalainen said the team is excited to have added Roslovic and they’ve tried to acquire him before. They think he can play center in the NHL and he’ll get a good look there.
Oilers Want to Test Out Bouchard and Puljujarvi
As per a report by TSN’s Ryan Rishaug, head coach Dave Tippett says they’ve discussed the idea of dressing seven defenseman to get Bouchard into the lineup and get him some minutes. The idea would be to help the Oilers struggling power play and while the coach didn’t commit to anything, he said they are considering it.
TSN’s Jason Gregor also noted that the Oilers are considering a move to put Jesse Puljujarvi on the first line with Connor McDavid. Puljujarvi got some time on Friday against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the top line and while he didn’t score, he didn’t look out of place and arguably more effective than Zack Kassian.
Tippett also noted that the Oilers are monitoring a few injuries for Sundays lineup as well.
Myers Avoids Suspension by NHL DOPS
As per the NHL Department of Player Safety, there will be no supplemental discipline for Myers bodycheck on Armia earlier this week. In a video explanation for the ruling, they say that the hit did not violate the illegal check to the head rule.
Noting the head was not the main point of contact and that head contact was unavoidable, they call the result of the hit unfortunate, but not a violation of the rules.
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Jim Parsons is a freelance writer who covers the Edmonton Oilers and news and rumors posts here at The Hockey Writers.
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