NHL Rumor Mill – July 26, 2022
Pierre-Luc Dubois addresses the recent offseason speculation swirling around him plus a look at the Penguins blue line in today’s NHL rumor mill.
DUBOIS ADDRESSES OFFSEASON SPECULATION
“If I wanted out I would have asked for a trade,” said Dubois. “I didn’t ask for a trade. Not for one second. It didn’t cross my mind for one second to ask for a trade.”
Dubois also explained the reason why he attended the first round of the 2022 Draft in Montreal earlier this month. Rumor had it he was there in anticipation of a trade to the Canadiens. Dubois said he only lives 15 minutes away from the Bell Centre and was there at the invitation of his bank to a reception they were holding at one of the arena’s suites.
Regarding comments his agent, Pat Brisson, made about Dubois one day hoping to play for the Canadiens, he felt those remarks were blown out of proportion and taken out of context. “I just thought it was overblown, the reaction, and I think some people just ran with the two seconds that they liked or didn’t want to hear.”
As for his decision to accept the Jets’ one-year qualifying offer, Dubois said his next NHL contract could be his last before he retires. He wants to take his time to consider all factors before signing a long-term deal.
Dubois understands his non-committal answers about his future won’t quell the speculation. He knows he’ll face the same questions next summer when he’s once again a restricted free agent. Nevertheless, he intends to face them at that time and put his current focus on the Jets’ upcoming season.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Some observers remain skeptical about Dubois’ comments, suggesting that he’s in damage-control mode trying to downplay his agent’s remarks about skating for the Canadiens one day.
The Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan points out that Dubois’ RFA status next summer and UFA eligibility in 2024 won’t stop the speculation linking him to the Habs. He observed the club is pressed for cap space this summer. However, they could have room next summer if general manager Kent Hughes is interested in pursuing Dubois. He could also attempt to sign Calgary Flames winger Jonathan Huberdeau if he tests the UFA market next summer.
COULD THE PENGUINS MOVE ANOTHER DEFENSEMAN?
PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE: Mike DeFabo recently observed the Penguins still have nine defensemen after swapping John Marino for Ty Smith and Mike Matheson for Jeff Petry. Asked if trading another defenseman was in the cards, GM Ron Hextall replied, “not necessarily.”
Nevertheless, DeFabo speculates on how Hextall could address the issue. Much will depend on how young blueliners like Smith and Pierre-Olivier Joseph perform in the upcoming season. One of them could get traded at some point in the season.
Other options include moving Marcus Pettersson in a cost-cutting move, shopping Brian Dumoulin before his contract expires at the end of the coming season, or giving a depth blueliner such as Chad Ruhwedel or Mark Friedman a chance with another team.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Hextall might not be done tinkering with his defense corps. However, his recent acquisition of Petry and Smith could be the only moves he makes with his blueline for the offseason. He could wait until training camp or preseason or perhaps into the early weeks of the coming season to evaluate his defensemen before deciding if other moves are required.