Pierre-Luc Dubois, Patrik Laine, and Jack Roslovic all wanted a trade from their respective teams this season.
On Saturday, they all got it.
In a blockbuster deal, the Columbus Blue Jackets sent Dubois and a third-round pick to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Laine and Roslovic, capping off a week of drama in Columbus.
Dubois had been looking for a “change of scenery” since the start, a request that was creating some fairly obvious drama between him, coach John Tortorella, and the entire team. Things reached a boiling point on Thursday night when he was benched for almost the entire game against the Tampa Bay Lightning. That game almost certainly ramped up the team’s efforts to complete a trade.
“Pierre-Luc has been an important part of our team the past four seasons, but this was the right time for both parties to move in a different direction,” general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement.
Dubois is signed through the end of next season at a salary cap hit of $5M per year. He will be a restricted free agent at the end of that contract.
Laine’s current deal runs through the end of this season and is worth $6.75M. The Jets are retaining a portion of his salary in the trade to balance out the salary cap hits.
Roslovic had been unsigned as a restricted free agent and is getting a new two-year deal with the Blue Jackets. That contract is worth $1.9M per season.
From a purely hockey perspective there are some elements here that make sense for both teams. The Jets wanted more center depth, and get it in a Dubois trade with a heck of a two-way player. It is also probably a better return than they could have ever anticipated for Laine when trade rumors first started to surface involving him.
Laine gives the Blue Jackets a potential star on the wing and perhaps the best pure goal scorer the team has had since Rick Nash. But that pending contract situation could be very tricky.
Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.