John Tortorella has some advice for Pierre-Luc Dubois following the Blue Jackets’ forward’s trade request.
“He should get in front of it,” the Columbus head coach told 97.1 The Fan’s Rothman and Ice. “That’s the way I think you should go about your business, and be the best teammate you can be.”
Tortorella told the hosts Dubois has spoken to the team, but the 22-year-old has not said why he is seeking a trade.
“He wants out. He spoke to the team as we do here,” Tortorella added. “It’s a little bit different [situation] than [Artemi Panarin] and [Sergei Bobrovsky]. This is a 22-year-old kid, [it] doesn’t happen that often. He has been honest with the group. I wish he was a little bit more honest as far as reasons why. Still haven’t really gotten to that, but I think he needs to speak on that. I won’t.”
Dubois, who signed a two-year, $10M deal last month, said he didn’t want to be a distraction when asked about his request. But the longer he remains in Columbus, the more attention the story will get.
Tortorella and Dubois have had an up-and-down relationship, but the coach doesn’t view conflict as a bad thing. He sees it as an opportunity for both parties to be honest with one another and seek a resolution that will ultimately help the team.
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While he’s worked to get the best out of Dubois, the trade request is frustrating for Tortorella.
“To coach him? I think it’s very difficult for me when a guy doesn’t wan to be here at such a young age,” Tortorella said. “The amount of time we’ve poured into him to try to develop him and he’s just looking to go, it’s hard for me. I’m not sure where it goes with me as the season gets going here, I’ll be quite honest with you. I want to spend my time developing the people that want to be here. But I still have to coach the hockey team to be the best it can be.
“[Dubois] has had a good camp, but it’s a short leash with me as far as this is concerned. He needs to continue to do the things that help this team win and be as best a teammate as he can be or I’m not sure where it goes. It’s a situation and we’ll go to it day-by-day.”
This season, where acquiring a player likely means he’ll have to quarantine, it will be interesting to see if a trade happens. Dubois will have suitors, and GM Jarmo Kekalainen has reportedly already received strong offers. But the Blue Jackets have eyes for the playoffs again, and as long as Dubois is giving 100% to the team, it’s possible he stays through the season and a deal is revisited in the summer.