Jets still waiting for Pierre-Luc Dubois to make an impact

It does not always work out this way, but the ideal trade is when everybody — both teams, the players involved, etc. — all come away with something that makes them and their situation better.

It is a difficult thing to achieve, and from a competitive standpoint you should always be looking to get the upper hand on the teams you are competing with. But ultimately the whole purpose of two teams getting together and making a deal is so that they can both get something out of it.

Sometimes, though, nobody gets what they want. Or expects.

That has been the case so far with this season’s Columbus-Winnipeg blockbuster that saw the Blue Jackets send Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Jets in exchange for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic back in January.

It involved three players all looking for a change of scenery from their current situations. The Jets were hoping to get an impact center that could improve their depth down the middle. The Blue Jackets were hoping to get an elite goal-scorer that could make an impact on their power play and give them some true star power.

[NBC 2021 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF HUB]

Just a few months later and, quite honestly, none of that has happened.

Laine’s debut season in Columbus saw him get stapled to the bench on more than occasion, while his new team never seemed to fully understand what they had with him and have tried to turn him into something he is not.

Meanwhile, the Jets are still waiting for Dubois to show any of the form he displayed over his first few seasons with the Blue Jackets.

He enters Game 4 of their Second Round series with the Canadiens (8 p.m. ET; NHL Network) with zero goals and only three assists in his first six playoff games this season. That comes at a time — and in a series — where the Jets’ center depth has been depleted with Paul Stastny missing time to injury and Mark Scheifele missing time due to a suspension. He is not the reason they are facing elimination. But he has also not yet done anything to help them avoid it.

It also comes just one year after Dubois made a name for himself with a dominant showing in the playoffs as a member of the Blue Jackets, recording 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games.

The question the Jets have to wrestle with now is whether or not this is just a short-term blip in a weird season, or if it is a real long-term concern. Because this has not been a normal year, and the circumstances around the trade itself and his arrival to Winnipeg made things difficult. There was the two-week isolation period where he could not join the team. He has been injured on more than one occasion and even missed the start of the playoffs. All of that can play at least some factor in his regression across the board and his quiet postseason.

[NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs 2021 Second Round schedule, TV info]

You also do not want to overreact too much to a half season’s worth of games when there are three full seasons of play to look at. There is a decent sampling of play here to suggest that Dubois should — emphasis on should — be some kind of an impact player. In his first three years in the NHL, all before turning 22, he was averaging 23 goals and 50-plus points per 82 games, while playing a strong two-way game. Was he a superstar? No. But he was playing an advanced, complete game that had all the markings of an impact player.

Then this season it just sort of disappeared and has not returned. Including playoffs, he has scored at a 13-goal, 38-point pace over 82 games, and just not looked anywhere near as impactful as he did with Columbus. Especially when the Jets needed him to be their top player in this series.

At this point, facing a 3-0 series deficit and needing to beat Carey Price four games in a row it is probably too late for any sort of change this season. The hope here has to be that with a clean slate, and a fresh start, Dubois can get back on his developmental track from his first three seasons and become the player the Jets were hoping to acquire. If he does, and he goes back to being the player he showed he can be through his first three seasons that is a player you can use a central building block long-term.

But if this season is not the outlier, and if this is a sign of what is ahead, then it would seem to be a pretty big missed opportunity for everybody involved and the exact type of trade nobody wants to make.

JETS VS. CANADIENS (MTL leads 3-0) series livestream link

Game 1: Canadiens 5, Jets 3
Game 2: Canadiens 1, Jets 0
Game 3: Canadiens 5, Jets 1
Game 4: Mon. June 7: Jets at Canadiens, 8 p.m. ET (NHL Network)
*Game 5: Wed. June 9: Canadiens at Jets, 8 p.m. ET (CNBC)
*Game 6: Fri. June 11: Jets at Canadiens TBD
*Game 7: Sun. June 13: Canadiens at Jets TBD

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    Hughes has first NHL hat trick, Devils beat Capitals 5-1

    Ed Mulholland-USA TODAY Sports
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    NEWARK, N.J. – Jack Hughes had his first career NHL hat trick, Vitek Vanecek made 38 saves against his former team and the New Jersey Devils beat the Washington Capitals 5-1 on Saturday for coach Lindy Ruff’s 800th victory.

    “It’s exciting,” Hughes said. “Couple of two-goal games in my career, so nice to cap it off with the third one tonight.”

    Ruff became the fifth NHL coach to reach the 800-victory mark. The former Buffalo player won 571 games with the Sabres from 1997-2011. He had 165 wins in five seasons with Dallas and has 64 in two-plus seasons with New Jersey.

    “It means I’ve been around a long time,” Ruff cracked. “Great to win the game. Again, you got to do a lot of right things, have good teams, and the way our team is playing I have to give them a lot of credit for getting me there.”

    The Atlantic Division-leading Devils have won two in a row after seeing their franchise-record 13-game winning streak snapped by Toronto.

    Devils captain Nico Hischier and Fabian Zetterlund also scored.

    John Carlson scored for Washington and Charlie Lindgren made 24 saves.

    “Not scoring goals, not capitalizing on our chances,” Carlson said. “We’ve had our chances, especially today, but we only walked away with one goal. We could have had five or six. It’s just not going in right now.”

    Vanecek, meanwhile, was hoping for the shutout against a familiar foe.

    “That would have been nice, but that’s hockey,” Vanecek said, “For sure you’re trying, but not every time; the win is more important.”

    Hischier opened up the scoring with his 10th goal of the season midway through the first period on a power play after Alexander Ovechkin was called for slashing.

    Hughes wrapped the puck around goalie Lindgren’s right leg and the goal post to put the Devils up 2-0 5:59 into the second period. Hughes appeared to have lost his angle on the goal when he ripped a shot off Lindgren’s face mask and into the net midway through the period for his 10th goal of the season to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead.

    The 2019 No. 1 overall draft pick added his third midway through the third period as hats rained down on the ice with New Jersey up 4-0.

    “You want to continue to play the right way, but if an opportunity comes you want to definitely put it in the back of the net with authority,” Hughes said. “So tonight, I was able to cap it off and it was nice.”

    Fabian Zetterlund capped the scoring for New Jersey late in the third period.

    NOTES: The Devils improved to 16-0-0 this season when Hischier has a point. New Jersey’s Nathan Bastain (upper body) did not return after the first period. . Ovechkin is still nine goals away from 800 and 11 from passing Gordie Howe for second place on the NHL goals list.

    UP NEXT

    Capitals: At Vancouver on Tuesday night.

    Devils: At the New York Rangers on Monday night.

    Bruins set NHL record with 12 straight home wins to start season

    Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports
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    BOSTON — The Boston Bruins set the NHL record for most home victories to start a season with their 12th straight, topping the Carolina Hurricanes 3-2 in overtime with a power-play goal from David Pastrnak.

    The Bruins broke the mark of 11 that was set by the 1963-64 Chicago Blackhawks and equaled by the Florida Panthers last season.

    “That felt awesome,” Bruins first-year coach Jim Montgomery said. “We talked about it after the second (period) going into the third. There’s been a lot of great teams in this league and you’re able to set a precedent, break a record. It’s pretty special and it doesn’t happen if those guys don’t believe in themselves like they do.”

    Boston, which trailed 2-0 late in the second period, tied it with 9:33 left in regulation when David Krejci scored his second of the game on a shot from the right point.

    “It’s never fun being down going into the third, you’re sitting in here (in the locker room) trying to figure it out,” Krejci said. “You want to come out and do the job, something special on the line. It’s hard to win in this league. To get 12 in a row at home is pretty special.”

    In overtime, Carolina was playing shorthanded after being called for too many men on the ice when Pastrnak one-timed a pass from Brad Marchand inside the far post from above the left circle.

    “It was a big win for us, obviously, coming from behind,” Pastrnak said.

    Jesperi Kotkaniemi and Stefan Noesen each scored a power-play goal for Carolina, and Pyotr Kochetkov made 38 saves. The Hurricanes lost their fifth straight.

    In a rematch of last spring’s opening-round playoff series that the Hurricanes won in seven games, Carolina shutout the NHL’s highest scoring team for nearly two periods and jumped ahead a pair of power-play goals in the opening period.

    “We took too many penalties. That’s hurting us right now,” Kotaniemi said. “I think 5-on-5 we’re doing a really good job. We started good tonight and couldn’t keep that up.”

    Boston’s tying goal was originally disallowed because of goaltender interference on Nick Foligno but overturned on a coach’s challenge after it was ruled that he was nudged into the crease by Carolina defenseman Brett Pesce.

    Boston starting goaltender Linus Ullmark made 28 saves but had to leave with 13:03 left in the third period with an undisclosed upper-body injury. Teammate Connor Clifton had jumped on him to block a shot during a scramble. Jeremy Swayman made six stops in relief.

    Carolina’s Noesen scored at 6:34 in to make it 1-0. And with five minutes left in the period, Kotkaniemi collected the puck near the side of the net after Seth Jarvis‘ shot bounced off the back glass and slipped it inside the post at 15:05.

    Krejci scored for Boston with 31 seconds left in the second.

    Boston came in with a league-high 82 goals in 20 games (4.10 per game), but it was held to relatively few chances despite getting a 5-on-3 power-play advantage early on.

    TAKE NOTE

    The Bruins honored captain Patrice Bergeron, who recorded his 1,000th career point when the team was on the road against Tampa Bay, with a message on the Jumbotron. The crowd gave him a standing ovation.

    Bergeron became just the fourth Bruin to reach the mark, joining Hall of Famers Ray Bourque (1,506), Johnny Bucyk (1,339) and Phil Esposito (1,012).

    UP NEXT

    Hurricanes: Host the Calgary Flames.

    Bruins: Host the Tampa Bay Lightning.

    Predators postpone 2 games due to Nashville water main break

    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
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    NASHVILLE, Tenn. —  The Nashville Predators postponed two home games because of a water main break that soaked their downtown arena.

    Hours after the Predators decided they couldn’t play against the Colorado Avalanche, the team announced it also postponed the game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. Makeup dates for the two games will be announced later.

    The NHL said the water main break that occurred “significantly impacted the event level” of Bridgestone Arena. Team locker rooms and the ice surface are on the event level.

    Predators President and CEO Sean Henry told reporters that the water in the event level ranged from 3 inches to 3 feet.

    “We’re assessing it right now. We’re remediating it,” Henry said. “The good thing is, the water got shut off, the city responded in a pretty fast manner. I don’t think anyone is ready for things like this the Friday after Thanksgiving.”

    Video posted by a WTVF-TV reporter shows the water puddled up on the main floor’s concourse area and the team store. The team was forced to close the store until further notice, pointing shoppers online for Black Friday specials.

    The Predators’ next home game is now scheduled for Tuesday against the Anaheim Ducks.

    The water issue also resulted in a switch to a different venue for a college hockey game between Northeastern and Western Michigan. They also had been scheduled to play at Bridgestone Arena, a game that was moved to Ford Ice Center Bellevue.

    Rangers trade Ryan Reaves to Wild for 5th-round pick in 2025

    Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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    ST. PAUL, Minn. — The New York Rangers traded enforcer Ryan Reaves to the Minnesota Wild for a 2025 fifth-round pick.

    Reaves had been a healthy scratch for eight of the past 12 games for the Rangers. He gives struggling Minnesota some extra muscle and a veteran presence.

    The 35-year-old is signed through only the rest of this season at a $1.75 million salary cap hit. He has no points and 12 penalty minutes in 12 games of his second season with New York.

    Reaves has played in 869 NHL regular-season and playoff games for the St. Louis Blues, Pittsburgh Penguins, Vegas Golden Knights and Rangers. He was with the Golden Knights during their inaugural season in 2017-18 when the reached the Stanley Cup Final.