Pierre-Luc Dubois downplays trade talk, free agency, and playing for the Canadiens

pierre-luc dubois
Oct 28, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) handles the puck against the LA Kings in the third period at Staples Center. The Jets defeated the Kings 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Pierre-Luc Dubois signed his one-year, $6 million qualifying offer from the Winnipeg Jets on Friday. Yesterday, he addressed the media to explain why going with a short-term deal was the best way to go.

“At this time, the one-year deal was the way we wanted to go,” Dubois began. “There was never a doubt of holding out or forcing anything.”

Dubois, 24, registered 28 goals and 60 points in 81 games this past season. He was coming off a two-year deal he signed with the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2020-21 ($5M AAV).

Selected third overall in the 2016 Draft, Dubois has amassed 239 career points in 361 games split between Columbus and Winnipeg. He was sent to the Jets for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in January 2021 after his trade request and fallout with coach John Tortorella became public.

Pierre-Luc Dubois addresses trade talk and free agency

It didn’t not take long for questions to be asked regarding all the rampant speculation pertaining to Dubois this offseason.

“You hear so many things about what I apparently said or did. It’s frustrating to read some things I didn’t even know I did,” he revealed. “You read stuff that, ‘He wants out of Winnipeg.’ If I wanted out of Winnipeg, I would’ve asked for a trade. I didn’t ask for a trade. There’s no doubt in my mind that I was gonna show up to camp.”

However, when he was asked about being open to signing a long-term contract with the Jets, Dubois was non-committal.

“When this contract is up, then we’ll deal with it.” he explained. “At the end of the day it’s a business for everybody.”

This line of questioning arose when one of hockey’s most respected insiders, Elliotte Friedman reported that he informed the Jets he was going to test the free agent market in 2024. Ultimately, Dubois’ responses on that matter were ambiguous as best.

Dubois on Montreal rumors

pierre-luc dubois
Feb 9, 2021; Calgary, Alberta, CAN; Winnipeg Jets centers Pierre-Luc Dubois (13) and Trevor Lewis (23) look on from the bench against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome. Mandatory Credit: Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports

The native of Ste-Agathe-Des-Monts, Quebec has always had a rumored desire to play for his hometown team. That became obvious when his agent Pat Brisson made some eyebrow raising comments this summer.

“Montreal is a city he would probably … I can talk about it because he doesn’t have a contract at the moment — he’s a restricted free agent,” Brisson told TVA Sports in French on Wednesday. “Montreal is a place, a city he’d like to play in. That’s all I can say about that.”

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“To be honest, I saw the comments that he made. I think people are blowing them out of proportion. I think people took a little thing and blew it up times 20,” Dubois said. “It’s fine, everybody can read into it what they want. I didn’t think too much of it. Things that are said in these meetings can be taken out of context. I just thought it was overblown, the reaction. I think some people just ran with the two seconds that they liked or didn’t like to hear.”

Of course, Brisson’s remarks coupled with reports that Dubois attended the draft in Montreal because he believed a trade to the Canadiens was in the works, only added fuel to the fire.

“I saw the report that I went to the draft in the hopes of being traded but that’s false.” Dubois explained.

“I went to the draft because I live 15 minutes from the arena,” he noted. “My bank invited me, they had a box with food and dinner. It’s an entertaining night and I’m a fan. I used to go to drafts when I was a kid and spent half the night with my dad. If I was invited to go with the Jets, I would’ve gone with them.”