NHL Rumor Mill – January 1, 2021

by | Jan 1, 2021 | Rumors | 55 comments

The Blue Jackets signed Pierre-Luc Dubois but trade rumors persist, plus the latest on the Senators in the first NHL rumor mill of 2021.

THE ATHLETIC: Aaron Portzline cites colleague Pierre LeBrun yesterday reporting a few NHL clubs were made aware that Pierre-Luc Dubois is looking at a change of scenery after just three seasons with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Dubois and the Jackets yesterday reached an agreement on a two-year, $10 million contract.

Despite re-signing with the Columbus Blue Jackets, there’s speculation Pierre-Luc Dubois wants to be traded (NHL Images).

Neither general manager Jarmo Kekalainen or Dubois’ agent would comment on the young center’s rumored request for a trade. Portzline cites a source claiming the relationship between Dubois and the organization changed during contract negotiations in the fall.

The Jackets apparently wanted a long-term contract but Dubois sought a short-term deal that would allow management sufficient time to trade him for a return commensurate with his value. It also keeps Dubois from being locked-in long term with the Jackets.

Dubois didn’t sign an offer sheet but Portzline indicates he did speak with other clubs. It was in those discussions that his desire to leave Columbus became clear.

Portzline suggests Kekalainen’s tendency to take a hard line in contract talks with young players has the consequence of damaging the relationship between the two sides. He cites former Jackets Ryan Johansen and Josh Anderson as notable examples.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: We’ll probably learn more in the coming days from various league insiders over Dubois’ situation, especially regarding the teams he spoke with during his contract negotiations. It’s also been suggested Dubois might not have the best relationship with head coach John Tortorella, who has a reputation as a tough-minded bench boss.

Whatever the reason, Dubois could become a subject of interest in the rumor mill over the course of this season. If there is friction between the center and Kekalainen and/or Tortorella, it could result in his departure via trade this year or next for a player of equal or potentially better value.

Kekalainen could make a one-for-one deal involving Dubois. He shipped Johansen to Nashville for defenseman Seth Jones in a move that proved to be a winner for the Jackets. Anderson was dealt in October to Montreal for Max Domi. Time will tell which club got the better of that move.

OTTAWA SUN: Earlier this week, Ken Warren examined how the recent moves by the Senators have created a logjam at center and on defense. The additions of Derek Stepan and Cedric Paquette gives them five centers. Because there’s limited room to move a center to the wing, Warren suggested moving on from Artem Anisimov. He also believes they’ll have to make a decision on Logan Brown, who’s heading into his third pro season trying to win a permanent spot on the roster.

Warren also pointed out it’s a packed house on the blueline, “with Thomas Chabot, Nikita Zaitsev, Erik Gudbranson, Braydon Coburn, Mike Reilly, Josh Brown, Christian Wolanin, Erik Brannstrom, Artem Zub, Lassi Thomson and Christian Jaros all searching for playing time.” He speculates some of the veterans could be moved by the trade deadline.

SPECTOR’S NOTE: Warren believes it could be difficult moving Anisimov because he’s slowed and there might not be many takers for the $1.5 million in actual salary remaining on his contract. Perhaps not now, but he could draw some interest from a playoff contender leading up to the Apr. 12 trade deadline. I expect pending UFA blueliners like Gudbranson, Coburn or Reilly could also hit the trade block later in the season.


  1. Columbus better try and repair that relationship, #1 centre’s don’t grow on trees …

    • He was 75th in scoring last year and not evan in the top 20 of centers. It won’t be that hard to replace him. His production at least which is what Columbus needs the most.

      • As a 21 year old last season? Lost Anderson to injury. Panarin to FA. Not much help around him. Was a point per game in playoffs and had 61 points year before. He’s one of best young centers in league, and more valuable with that contract. Whether anyone thinks he’s a 1c/2C, he’s definately going to be a good player in this league for a long time.

      • Dubois is a complete hockey player. They really don’t grow on trees. I’d take him on the Bruins in a heartbeat.

      • Dubois is a great 2c and a low end 1c. He would be the 2c in Boston. He would be the 2c on any of the better teams. Although it would be great to have him on any team he is replaceable. If he asked for a trade than it’s a trade that can be won. You’re first line center needs to produce. A 100 point center is hard to replace because they are rare. A 60 point center is easily replaceable.

      • Patience Bergeron Cleary shoots holes in that theory, Roger.

      • Really shorepark how? He’s had multiple 70 point seasons including one where he had 79 points in 64 games. Check your stats before commenting. Bergeron is clearly a number 1 and in the year he scored 79 in 64 he was on pace for a 100 point season. You can’t even come close to comparing Bergeron to Dubois. Not only that but Bergeron is the best face off player in the league. Bergeron and Dubois are a complete different class of player. So how does my comment show I’m wrong? It clearly proves my point. On Boston Dubois would be a 2c just like Krejci who’s better than Dubois by the way.

      • Dubois is definitely a number 1 center! How anyone can say he’s not is just crazy, roger maybe watch him he was a beast against the leafs in the play in round. You probably think Tavares is still a number one Center while the rest of the hockey world knows that ship has sailed, Tavares is a number 2 making waaaay to much money

      • Pretty typical of a commentator like you who’s so focused on the leafs you can’t understand hockey. John Tavares in the last 2 years (his leafs years) 145gp, 73g, 148pts and a plus 12. Luca Dubois 152gp, 45g, 110pts and a plus 14. Don’t let those facts get in the way of your opinion. Dubois is not anywhere near the same class of player as Tavares. Montreal, New Jersey, Columbus, Minnesota, Arizona and Anaheim are the only teams where Dubois would be the number 1 center. He’s a number 2 using facts of course something you clearly don’t understand.

      • Typical leaf fan looking at points only! Dubois has won more playoff rounds than Tavares, matthews, marner,Reilly etc etc etc . Your problem is you listen to the Toronto media that way over hypes a leafs team that literally done nothing! You are so focused on bashing other teams and players making it sound like the leafs are in great shape that your bias blinds your thought! No gm,coach or player in the league would say that dubois is not a number one Center!

      • There you go again you equate playoff wins to 1 player and not the team. You’re so focused on the leafs you can’t see 2 feet ahead of you. Stats matter when comparing apples to apples. Tavares’s stats are so far ahead of Dubois that of course they matter. You’re opinion means nothing the stats actually show player vs player and it’s not even close. Go ahead though I’m sure you’ll focus on the leafs not winning the Stanley cup in a long time or not making past the first round in a while instead of whether or not Dubois is a 1st line center or not. I’m sure that the leafs not making the playoffs makes Dubois better then Tavares. Even though Tavares shouldn’t of even been part of the conversation. I’ve read your comments You’re so obsessed with the leafs it’s embarrassing. Dubois is not even a top 25 center in the league. Like I said a great number 2 but a very low end number 1. Based on fact by looking at the number 1 centers of all other teams. If he would only be the number 1 center on 6 or 7 teams that makes him exactly what I said he is. Get a life beyond the leafs I mean honestly.

      • There you go again basing one players points on a team that plays a defensive style that wins compared to an offensive style that can’t win a playoff round and way overpays it’s forwards because they get points but are terrible in their own zone! You’re so obsessed with bashing anyone not on the leafs it’s unreal get a life beyond the leafs I mean honestly

      • Centers better then Dubois.
        Mcdavid, Draisaitl, Aho, Barzal, Point, Malkin, Crosby, Matthews, Tavares, Stamkos, Mackinnon, Barkov, Bergeron, Scheifele,Seguin, O’Reilly,Eichel, KUZNETSOV, Couture, Backstrom, Monahan, Petterson,Zibanijad, Kopitar, Couturier etc…… I also decided to do a random search to get other opinions. Nhl.com has Dubois as the 25th best centermen. That does not make him the number 1 centerman on most teams. Like I said great second line center but he would be at the bottom end of number 1 centers.

      • See there’s more proof I was talking about Dubois and you’re the one who brought up the leafs. You’re clearly obsessed with them and that’s fine but you should keep the conversation on Dubois as that is the point of this.

      • So you’re telling me that putting him in an offensive team style with better wingers he wouldn’t be ranked higher? Lol

      • Yes, because he would be the 2nd Center on those teams. Look at that list.

      • Roger. Last 2 years with Leafs, Tavares had 8 points in 12 playoff games. Bigger sample size. Debois, as I said, 10 in 10 this year. Also, all those players you listed, what did they all do before age 22? You’re comparing a kid to guys that are mostly all in their prime. Kid also hasn’t missed a game. (Mathews?)Again, you’re missing point on saying he’s replaceable. He’s a kid who has shown he’ll be a 1c, even if you feel he’s not right now.

      • You probably think Tavares and Matthews are better than Bergeron and orielly too right?

      • There you go with the leafs again. Give it up your obsession is sad.

      • Slick still a small sample size. I don’t have the time to go through each player to see what they did before they were 23 but I would bet most did better and the comparison is now not way back when so I would rather not assume and base it on opinions. I’m going back the last cpl of years with well over 100 games played so more then fare comparison. Could Dubois become better then them, Maybe bit he’s not there yet and has not shown anything other than opinion to say he will be.

      • All I’m saying is points isn’t the be all to end all on ranking a player, everyone below is disagreeing with you also

      • I agree Bruin I’m not saying its just points either. But when you call someone a true number 1 center there are expectations and the results have to reflect that. It’s why you have a 3rd and 4th line its so that you can have big defensive players to wair down and stop the other teams top lines. Most teams still use that approach. A number 1 center is there to produce It’s why Gretzky is the greatest of all time. He wasn’t a defensive player. To me and this is opinion however every great team has one of these a number center gets you around a point per game and drives your power play and offense. You’re second line center gets you 50 to 60 and picks up the slack when the first line is a bit off. Your 3rd c gets you 40 to 50 wins you over 50 percent of the face offs and shuts down the other teams top 2 lines. Your 4th line give you 15 to 25 and pounds the other teams top 2 lines into submission. Most teams have that number 1 center so to me that makes Dubois a high end 2 c or a low end 1 c. At least as of now. Maybe he becomes more maybe he doesn’t.

    • Luckily Dubois is a 2nd line C who thinks he’s a 1C but hasn’t proven it yet.

      CBJ GM got better players in return in Domi and Jones so he knows what he is doing.

      • Don’t you tire of being wrong, and what seems to be willful ignorance regarding all things hockey related?

      • Even the majority of the commenters above agree with me. He is a good young 2C level player with a 50/50 chance of improving to 1C. And if you think MTL or Nashville won their trades you are delusional.

        You hurt your credibility with statements like yours, doubling down on your nonsense.

      • Yes. Roger is the majority.
        Wrong again.

      • Wendell. Dubois had 3 goals in Leafs series. 1 more than Mathews and Tavares. He’s more a 90-10 chance of being a 1c. 50-50 chance Tavares becomes a 3c in a couple years

      • Yes Slick it’s 5 games that you should base a player on. I know people have blind eyes when it comes to the leafs but Dubois would be the 3rd c on that team. Tavares is also an elite talent and will still be close to a point a game player or more in 2 years. I know it’s hard for people to understand that but it doesn’t change facts over opinions.

      • Ok Rog. I think you’re missing point. Was being facetious. But since you brought it up. Debois sample size was 10 games. Their team won. He had 10 points in 10 games that mattered.I’m not arguing he’s better than Mathews or Tavares. But he has ceiling of 1c and he’s being paid like a 3. Let me know when your dynamic duo gets out of 1st round.

      • K are we forgetting his age? Monaghan, Backstom (today) , Kuznetzov and Couture are not better. Others like Seguin seem to be declining. Also 1c development happens at different rates, not everyone on the list is a generational. So where will he be in two years ? That’s what they are arguing about. Yes he is a bottom rated 1c today but it is expected he will be a mid 1c by his next contract.

      • Slick 10 games is still not a big sample size. He has 3 years of stats you can pull from the point though is he today a number 1 center. No he’s not. Will he be, Maybe. Maybe he’s the next Brassard. Same type of player and production early on. People on here are calling him a number 1 c which he is not. He’s a very good number 2 and a bottom end 1 like I’ve been saying. That’s not opinion it’s fact. Maybe next year next becomes a top center I’m bit a psychic. I’m stating what he is now and what his value is now.

    • 25th best center in the league makes him a number one center on at least six teams

  2. My son sent me tweet Lebrun posted and in the short time between that post and PLD signing, Ranger blogs were already coming up with trade packages! Curious if NYR was one of the teams that had spoken with his camp. No secret they were looking to upgrade at center. IMO, they should be looking into getting Roslovic. PLD to Winnipeg for Laine would make sense for both teams. Roslovic could also be part of a deal with Jets also. To Col.: Roslovic and Laine. To Win.:PLD, Savard and a pick?

    • Laine and Roslovic for Dubois makes sense for Winnipeg.
      If I was Cheveldayoff I would be making that deal in a minute!
      To have Scheifele and Dubois down the middle would be to good to pass up.
      Besides I am not a Laine fan, a one dimensional player.

      • That’s the problem flamefan, when you say you don’t like the player

        Then you offer up a 2 for 1, that would equate Chevy as a poor GM.

        No Chevy never making that deal.

        But interesting trade swap.

      • Laine’s job is to score goals and he’s already proven to be one of the best in the league. A 40 goal scorer with easily 50-60 goal potential is a rare commodity. No way you trade Laine for Dubois. I like Dubois but come on. Chevy will lose the Laine trade just like Winnipeg lost the Selanne trade. You put way to much emphasis on 2 way play. There’s a ton of mid level talent who are great defensive players but don’t have the skill to produce. You surround your stars with those guys and let your skilled guys produce.

      • Laine scored 40 once in a hot year on the PP, which is where half of them came from.
        If the debate is would you trade Dubois for Laine, then I would if I was WPG.
        All day.
        Laine can score, Dubois can do it all. A solid 2 way C you can throw over the boards against the other teams best all game is worth his weight in gold. Very good 2C now, with a chance to be a very good 1C.
        Laine is a taller Joe Mullen. Without the guys who get the puck back, and then generate the scoring opportunity, he isn’t all that.
        There is a reason he isn’t even on the top line on his own team. There is a reason he wants to be on it and wants to be traded so he can play with a 1C, because he needs one to get his goals and get paid.
        If CLB trades Dubois for Laine I will be shocked.
        Trade him for another C because he wants out? Maybe.

      • I agree with most of what you said Ray except where you almost equate Laine’s 44 goal season as a fluke. He was 19 and has clearly shown to be a pure goal scorer. He’s also working on his 2 way game and made great strides this year in that area. You can teach someone to back check but you can’t teach scoring. Laine is a unique talent so when someone says it will take Laine plus Roslovic for Dubois they have no clue. Dubois is exactly what you said a good 2 line c. A 1 for 1 maybe even though I wouldn’t for Dubois but I can see why someone else would. A Laine and Roslovic for Dubois would be a hard no for anyone with common sense. That’s why I was defending Slick82 over Flame fans comment. Slicks trade proposal was actually reasonable. Again would be opinion but would make most at least consider it.

  3. Watching Finland vs Canada yesterday was like watching the Leafs vs Columbus.




    Go Canada!!!

    • Switch goalies in game 5 of that Leafs vs Columbus series and the Blue Jackets would be the ones “Outclassed”.

      • I think anyone that makes a comparison of junior hockey to NHL or expects results that they seen junior hockey to go onto NHL must remember how many players in the past we thought were for sure fire hits and we’re nothing but duds.

        I think they are what they are, young amateurs playing a game against other kids their age around the world. It’s fun entertaining hockey. Otherwise if wendel actually knew anything he would be on here talking about how Amirov(sp) was a steal at 15th because he’s out-preformed players drafted higher than him or Finish defender they drafted this past draft has a point per game so far in the tournament and how both are on pretty crummy teams.

        The reality is that they both might flame out by time before they “make” the NHL…this might be their peak, we don’t really know or tell that but in the meantime fun to watch!

        Happy New Year

    • That is a deep team. Cozens sure looks good.

      • Yeah, Buffalo have themselves a player.

      • Cozens plays like Jonathan Toews, so much will and determination.

  4. Dubois will be a number 1 center in short order . That is if Tortarella doesn’t ruin him. What’s is he a 98 born ? He will have a steady incline in points over the next few years. What did Laine have 65 ?
    It would take a Laine and Roslovic and more in my eyes.

    • Silverscree Laine best season so far was when he was 19. 82gp, 44g, 70pts Dubois who’s going to turn 23 this year has a best season of 82gp, 27g, 61pts. Laine was getting second line minutes and second unit power play time (reason why he wants to be traded) while Dubois was getting first line minutes. It’s not even close. Good thing you’re not Winnipeg GM because you would be getting fleeced.

    • Silver, I agree if I was Columbus I would want more for Dubois.
      Watching him play against the leafs in the playoffs was impressive.

    • Laine and Dubois are the same age and were in the same draft.
      Laine #2, Dubois #3.
      Laine gets 1st PP minutes Roger and did when he had his big year and has every year.
      He average more than 3 min a game year in and year out. Shieffele, Wheeler, Connor and Laine all do. Big Buff switched to Pionk this last year, otherwise it has been the same.
      He gets more PP time than Dubois and plays with way, and I mean way, better offensive players than Dubois does on the PP. Those guys up front vs Nyquist and Bjorkstrand on the PP?
      If Laine doesn’t start to play more of a 2 way game and contribute in other ways, he will always be what he is today and rely on other players to get his goals. He is the 3rd best winger on his own team. I wouldn’t trade Connor for Laine, would you? Wheeler isn’t a good comparison due to age and Wheeler can play C, but is also a way more valuable player.

      • If that trade was made, I don’t think you would see Laine scoring 30 goals.
        If Laine is unhappy playing in Winnipeg I can’t imagine how unhappy he would be playing for Torts.

  5. Too many silly posts on Dubois knocking him. Ppl living in the stat world love a James Harden. Losers are losers for a reason.

    JT is nothing special at 11m.

    Dubois is a leader not someone like JT with a C pasted on his jersey. Dubois out played him with less offence around him.

    Leafs have paid players for what they might do or another way to put it Dubas cannot get tough but he does bend over easily.

    Value wise Dubois should be pissed with his contract while JT laughs to the bank.

    • Again Gordie what does this have to do with the leafs and there players. This is about Dubois and what he’s done so far based on every other center on the league. He’s at the bottom end of the 1 center position. Look at the list of centers. Nhl.coms list of top 50 centers will give you an idea of how many great centers are playing on the NhL today. It’s not saying that Dubois won’t be at the high end of the list in a few years but right now he’s a high end 2c and a low end 1c sorry but that’s a face not option. You should really give it a rest with your leafs fascination. I can’t believe how a lot of people on here turn every topic to the leafs. Don’t just compare him to Matthews and JT. There’s still Eichel, Zajinabad, McDavid, Drasaitl, Bergeron, Crosby, Malkin, Aho, Barzal, Stamkos, Point, Mckinnon and the list goes on. They’re all better than Dubois

      • You’re a leaf fan and saying Tavares is still a number 1 Center is utter bias. I know a whole lot of leaf fans that want him gone but the way his play has declined and can’t play in big games and making 11million pretty much makes him almost not tradable

  6. Looks like there’s starting to be a trend that players want out of Columbus. Who could blame them? (There’s someone behind the bench who acts like a 5 year old.)

  7. PLD is going nowhere my friends. Don’t waste your time speculating. He’s a #1 center on 85% of all NHL teams. The consummate player- Big, decent speed, physical, skill. CBJ know what they have. Stop the nonsense, build back better!