Pierre-Luc Dubois is back with the Canadian contingent at the World Junior Summer Showcase. In September, he’ll try to take the next steps toward making the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Selected third overall by the Blue Jackets in 2016, Dubois can play center or the wing, bringing great size at 6-foot-3 and 202 pounds, and skill up front. He didn’t make Columbus last season out of training camp, but was instead sent back to junior where he played for Cape Breton in the QMJHL before getting traded to Blainville-Boisbriand.
His overall production dropped from the 42 goals and 99 points he registered in his draft year to 21 goals and 55 points split with those two junior clubs.
“If I made Columbus [in 2016-17] it wouldn’t have been a bad decision, but I don’t think getting cut was a bad decision either,” Dubois told NHL.com. “I think it all comes down to what I did after I got cut, and I think I did all the right things to learn from it and become a more mature player.”
The Blue Jackets are hoping so. It’s already been noted in the Columbus Dispatch that Dubois, who just turned 19 years old in June, isn’t eligible for the American Hockey League next season, which means he either makes the NHL squad or faces another year in the QMJHL.
The Blue Jackets have a group of young players like Seth Jones, Zach Werenski, Boone Jenner and Alexander Wennberg, stacked with talent. They took a big step last season, making the playoffs and setting franchise records for wins and points, before getting eliminated in the first round.
There has been talk dating back to June and the expansion draft that Dubois could challenge to make the Blue Jackets in a bottom-six role next season, according to Aaron Portzline last month.
“Pierre-Luc can not only make our team this coming season,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen told the Columbus Dispatch at the time. “He can make our team better.”