Imagine if trades were this boring.
You have two superstars. They’re frustrated on their respective teams. They ask for a trade. The solution? Trade them for each other.
Normally, I would take this trade, stuff it in a cannon and fire it into the sun for the sheer boredom.
But we get to Patrik Laine traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois, and I’m not even mad. It’s a beautiful trade. Throw in Jack Roslovic? Sure, why not? It’s a glorious undertaking with a hint of chaos.
The Winnipeg Jets and Columbus Blue Jackets did not have to jump the gun on this trade. Both sides could’ve held on to their disgruntled stars and see what the market holds; Dubois signed a two-year, $10 million extension as a restricted free agent this offseason, while Laine has one more year at a $4.995 million cap hit before becoming an RFA this summer.
It’s amazing that two 22-year-old stars can dictate a trade market this early into their careers. Dubois, already a top-line center with potential to be one of the game’s best two-way players, was on a playoff team. The Blue Jackets were his team after losing Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. Whatever in the world happened to make him want to leave is astounding.
Laine is a different story. Why he’s the one able to air his frustrations is beyond anyone’s guess. The ones who should be able to express their grievances in Winnipeg are the likes of Blake Wheeler and Mark Scheifele. Maybe Laine really needed a change of scenery, but it seems rushed.
This is a win for both squads, though. Laine gives the Blue Jackets that much-needed scoring punch on the wing they’ve lacked since Panarin left for Broadway. In the bubble, Columbus got by with steady play, quality defense and stellar goaltending. Had the Jackets had Laine last year, they would’ve given the Tampa Bay Lightning a greater fight.
Even the addition of Roslovic is a win for Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen. A near 30-point scorer last season, Roslovic can be a valuable middle-six player for John Tortorella with the chance to get better.
With Dubois, the Jets might have the best center depth in the league. Even beyond Scheifele and Dubois at 1-2, Paul Stastny might be the best 3C in the NHL by default, and then Adam Lowry rounds them out down the middle.
Losing Laine hurts in the scoring department, but the team’s 200-foot play mentality coupled with Connor Hellebuyck in the net is going to make Winnipeg a pest to play against in the North Division.
The hope for Dubois and Laine should be they find success in their new homes. Both players can become the face of their respective franchises. It’s going to be fun seeing what happens when they reach restricted free agency and the kind of money they’ll get on their next contracts.
As predictable as this trade was, it’s a good one, and it should make for compelling hockey in these final 50-plus games.
Kings at Wild: Prisoner of the moment time: I like how Los Angeles is playing. Anze Kopitar has turned back the clock with a league-leading nine assists. L.A. was at +140 for Tuesday’s matchup. That’s not a bad number to go off of. KINGS
Blue Jackets at Blackhawks: Chicago is not going to be good this year, but the ‘Hawks have shown sneaky moments. Laine must quarantine for a few more days so until CBJ is at full strength, I’d expect the likely home ‘dog to play well here. BLACKHAWKS
Devils at Sabres: The duo of Jack Eichel and Taylor Hall have come as advertised. Per usual with Buffalo, the goaltending has not. One game has to go right for the Sabres, right? Buffalo could be a home ‘dog as New Jersey has started this season strong. SABRES
Last week: 2-1