The Columbus Blue Jackets have played poorly in their last few games. This cold stretch has led them to the bottom third of the NHL standings. There are a number of factors to criticize about the team’s play thus far, however one bright spot this season has been Pierre-Luc Dubois. The 21-year-old has taken his game to the next level.
In my opinion, Dubois has been the Blue Jackets’ best player, and it’s not close. No disrespect to Seth Jones, who is a star himself, but Dubois is driving play in an even more impressive way of late. Losing Artemi Panarin on his left side hasn’t slowed him down at all. It speaks volumes that Dubois is able to perform better with a bit less help. He has shown an elite ability to generate chances in the offensive zone no matter who is on his line.
This past summer, Mitch Marner, Mikko Rantanen and others made headlines by waiting a long time to sign their new contracts. This summer, Dubois will be one of the names to watch as far as signing their next deal. He’s earning himself a big payday for his second NHL contract.
Stats Don’t Tell the Entire Story
Looking at Dubois stats this season won’t accurately represent how incredible he’s been. His 10 points in 15 games are really good, but he could easily have more. His six goals lead the Blue Jackets, but the deceiving number is the assists. He only has four of them but it feels like he has a lot more. His playmaking abilities are looking better than ever as he’s putting teammates in prime positions to score each game.
Once he finds a line that is comfortable and gels better than it has so far, expect his numbers to start matching some of the more elite players in the league. There’s no reason why he can’t be a point per game player as early as this season.
One of the better plays made by Dubois this season was his game-winning feed to Cam Atkinson against the Carolina Hurricanes two weeks ago. When Dubois is spinning off defenders, his game is right on point. Obviously, this was in a three-on-three situation but it was still an amazing play. It’s what he needs to do if the Blue Jackets want to succeed. Additionally, fighting through checks with the puck has been better than ever this season.
That’s part of his brand, of course, but Dubois is really putting it all together. He’s the leader of the offense right now for the Blue Jackets and it could remain that way for a long time.
The Face of the Franchise?
From the moment he was drafted, Dubois was expected to make a significant difference for the Blue Jackets. He’s already on the map as one of the best, young power forwards in the game, but he’s still getting better. I think Dubois will soon be recognized as the face of the Blue Jackets by most in the hockey world. He’s capable of being their next captain too, but that honor could go to Jones who would also be a great choice.
For the rest of this season, expect Dubois to continue playing dominant hockey. The Blue Jackets are a young team and Dubois will help the more inexperienced players elevate their game. In his third NHL season, Dubois looks poised to be a game-changer. The best is yet to come, though. He’s been a bit inconsistent, such as the end of last regular season, but he’s still very young.
The Blue Jackets have their top-line center in Dubois. He’s a legitimate star in the NHL and will only get better from here. Even though the Blue Jackets have much to be frustrated with at the moment, things are looking bright for Dubois.