The Pierre-Luc Dubois saga reached its conclusion on Saturday with the blockbuster trade that saw the center go from the Columbus Blue Jackets to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovc.
It came after Dubois had requested a trade out of Columbus and went through a rocky four-game stretch to open the season where he was benched on two different occasions. That includes one benching that covered nearly an entire game. It was at that point that it became clear a trade was going to be a necessity sooner rather than later.
On Saturday, the trade happened. So we knew the who and the when, but we still did not know the why.
As in, why did Dubois want out of Columbus?
Just hours after the trade on Saturday night Dubois sat down for an interview with Sportsnet’s Ron MacLean (watch the complete interview on Sportsnet) and attempted to address that question. He made clear that it was something he thought about for a while, especially as contract negotiations went on this offseason (he signed a two-year, $10 million contract just before the start of the season.)
It was a process
“I said since the start I’m not going to go into detail, and I won’t,” said Dubois. “I can say It was a process. I was thinking about a long time. It wasn’t overnight. It wasn’t that I just woke up one morning and it was a decision to make. It was something I thought about. As negotiations were going, obviously you don’t take anything personally, but as they go longer and longer you kind of start to think about stuff and situations.
“At some point I thought there is Pierre-Luc Dubois the hockey player, and Pierre-Luc Dubois the human. I wanted to stay true to myself, to my teammates. I knew if it was a longer deal, deep down I would have wanted this to happen. I wanted to be real to myself, be real to my teammates and everybody. I know some people are not happy about it, and I get that. But I am extremely grateful for everything that Columbus, the fans and the city, and the staff have done for me.”
Response from teammates
MacLean asked Dubois about the response from his teammates and the difficult situation it can be for a young player to be in asking for a trade. It was there that he addressed the training camp meeting that coach John Tortorella had referenced when he had Dubois talk to the team to get everything in the open.
“We had the conversation before camp started like Torts said. He wanted to get it out in the open with everybody and that is also something I wanted to do,” said Dubois.
“I did not want to play games with my teammates. I respect them more than anybody. I let them know, I let them know the reasons. It has nothing to do with them. They have been great for me since I came to the NHL, making me feel part of the team, making me feel like Columbus is a home. We are all teammates, we are all friends, we all care about each other. At the end of hte day you want your friend, you want your teammate to be happy. Sometimes it hurts, sometimes you can be disappointed with their decisions but I just know at the end of the day they want me to be happy.”
Dubois said Tortorella was not the reason
Finally, the elephant in the room was addressed: How much of a role did his relationship with Tortorella have on the decision. Dubois spoke at length about how he knew what type of coach Tortorella was when he was drafted, and that he had talked to a lot of players that had played for him before that told him what to expect. The consensus was that he would push, but that it was to simply make you better and that years down the line you would look back and appreciate it. Dubois said that Tortorella was NOT the cause of his request.
“I know for some people it might be, well that’s the reason, but it’s not,” said Dubois. “He was a hard coach, but I can take it, nothing is personal. I grew up with a dad who is a coach, he always told me if a coach challenges you it’s nothing personal he just wants what is best for you. That is how I see Torts and I have nothing but respect for him.”