Check out the latest on Pierre-Luc Dubois, Patrick Laine, Jack Roslovic and more in the Sunday NHL rumor roundup.
LATEST ON DUBOIS AND LAINE
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman reports the Montreal Canadiens were among several teams to make serious pitches for Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois before the regular season began. Once the puck dropped, however, the Jackets have decided to wait and see how their season unfolds before making any decision on Dubois’ trade request.
Chris Johnston believes there’s no urgency by the Blue Jackets or Dubois to make a trade at this point. He feels there’s a certain comfort level between the two sides right now, pointing out the 22-year-old center is seeing first-line minutes right now. He believes the Jackets will want a return that replaced Dubois immediately rather than a futures package.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen could pull the trigger if he gets a deal he likes during this season. Finding that deal, however, is another matter. If the Jackets are struggling by mid-February it could put Kekalainen under pressure to move Dubois.
Could the Winnipeg Jets swap Patrik Laine for Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (NHL Images)
For all the recent talk of the Canadiens parting with Nick Suzuki or Jesperi Kotkaniemi in a package deal for Dubois, we don’t know if Montreal GM Marc Bergevin intends to go that route. Bergevin seems interested but he could also remain patient and see how his club does over the course of the season and how well Suzuki and Kotkaniemi perform. If they meet or exceed expectations, Bergevin won’t have any need to trade for Dubois.
THE ATHLETIC: Eric Duhatschek recently weighed in on the Dubois speculation. He suggests one way to resolve this is to ship Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for winger Patrik Laine, who is rumored to want out of Winnipeg.
The problem, however, is it’s uncertain why each player seeks a change of scenery. If it’s the size of the market, it’s hard to imagine either player would be happy with this swap.
Duhatschek believes it would be serendipitous if Laine were to end up with the Anaheim Ducks, where former Jet Teemu Selanne wound up spending most of his Hall-of-Fame career. He suggested the Los Angeles Kings as a landing spot for Dubois, where the young center could fill the second-line role behind Anze Kopitar. The price for the Ducks and Kings would cost them a promising young asset like Trevor Zegras or Quinton Byfield.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Kekalainen’s preference could be shipping Dubois to a Western Conference team. The Kings could be a good fit but we don’t know if GM Rob Blake is willing to give up promising assets for Dubois. They could also be out of the running if the Jackets seek a return that provides immediate help.
Dubois might be a better fit with the Ducks as they’ll need a suitable replacement soon for aging captain Ryan Getzlaf. Like the Kings, however, they probably couldn’t help the Jackets address their need to replace Dubois at center.
Kekalainen could accept a package of picks and prospects in exchange for Dubois if he had a deal lined up with another club where he could flip that return for an established young first-line center. However, that could be easier said than done.
I concur with Duhatschek regarding the uncertainty about whether Dubois or Laine would like their new markets if they were swapped for each other. Laine is a restricted free agent this summer with arbitration rights. The Jackets will want assurances he’ll sign a long-term extension. Dubois is signed through next season but the Jets will have concerns about his plans beyond 2022.
PENGUINS INTERESTED IN ROSLOVIC
SPORTSNET: Elliotte Friedman believes the Pittsburgh Penguins are among the teams “very interested” in Winnipeg Jets forward Jack Roslovic. The 23-year-old restricted free agent remains in Columbus awaiting a trade.
Friedman points out the Penguins have started the season 0-2, adding general manager Jim Rutherford isn’t afraid to make in-season moves. He wonders if there could be a fit there.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Jets could seek a top-four defenseman for Roslovic. And no, they won’t want Mike Matheson or Cody Ceci in return.
RECENT CAPITALS SPECULATION
THE ATHLETIC: In a recent mailbag segment, Tarik El-Bashir was asked if Washington Capitals GM Brian MacLellan might consider trading center Evgeny Kuznetsov. While Kuznetsov can at times be a frustrating player to watch, El-Bashir doesn’t see MacLellan trading him, especially when they’re in go-for-it mode.
El-Bashir was also asked if the Capitals might trade winger Richard Panik in a cost-cutting deal. He believes the Capitals are hopeful Panik will have a bounce-back performance under head coach Peter Laviolette but doesn’t rule out moving him if things aren’t clicking by mid-February. The winger’s $2.75 million annual average value through 2022-23 would be difficult to move.