Pierre-Luc Dubois’ camp informed Winnipeg that he’s not interested in a one-year deal, per Pierre LeBrun. Now Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin are reporting new details and it’s clear Dubois’ camp is doing everything in its power to expedite a trade.
According to The Athletic’s report, Dubois will give the Jets a list of teams with which he’d be willing to sign a long-term extension. Pat Brisson, Dubois’ agent, will work with those teams to negotiate contract terms, and Kevin Cheveldayoff will do his best to work within these player-driven market parameters to maximize Winnipeg’s return. It’s a power move from the power forward — he’s using his 2024 UFA eligibility in an effort to dictate his long-term destination, even as an RFA without a no-movement clause — and given his abject unwillingness to sign in Winnipeg, it seems as though it’s going to work.
Cheveldayoff could theoretically play hardball with Dubois, filing for team-elected arbitration. He could even refuse to trade Dubois outright — at least, not until the trade deadline — unless Dubois signs.
I don’t expect either of those options to be palatable for Winnipeg. I don’t expect Cheveldayoff to have any interest in extending the length of time this ugly cloud of disinterest hangs over Dubois and the Jets. Winnipeg’s single biggest goal is to remain in playoff contention while Josh Morrissey, Nikolaj Ehlers and Kyle Connor are top players with term. It isn’t to force holdouts, prolong anyone’s misery or to score cheap points. Thus a restricted free agent who turns 25 later this month has a tremendous amount of power over his future.
My understanding is that all roads lead to a Dubois trade. I believe that the process of trade exploration has begun and that there is optimism that a trade will be consummated before the end of the draft on June 28 and 29 in Nashville. The plan, as Basu and Godin write, is for Winnipeg to sign Dubois to an eight-year contract and then to trade him just as Calgary did with Matthew Tkachuk fresh off a 104-point season one year ago.
Which teams be on Dubois’ wishlist? What could the Jets reasonably get back by way of trade? And is there any reason to believe Montreal will get outbid by teams with bigger, more pressing needs at centre?