Blue Jackets Hopeful after Blockbuster Trade
Denison Murphy 2.2.2021
The Blue Jackets season has gotten off to a less than perfect start with a record of 4-3-3, but things could be looking up in Columbus thanks to a Blockbuster trade. On January 23, the Jackets dealt star center Pierre Luc Dubois to the Winnipeg Jets for prolific scorer Patrik Laine and local product Jack Roslovic.
The 22 year old was the team’s leading point scorer from last year and had wanted out of Columbus for some time, and made it abundantly clear on January 21 against the Tampa Bay Lightning. In the 3-2 overtime loss, Dubois had one shift where he exerted so little effort that he was benched for the remainder of the game.
Head Coach John Torterella had some words for the situation after the game. “This has eroded, and it kept on eroding in the first five games.”
Captain Nick Foligno also weighed in: “That’s what I was frustrated about, that we had an opportunity as a team to play a certain style and act a certain way, and I think Luc would be the one to admit that he didn’t have that mindset that we needed him to have in order to have success coming out of the gate”.
With the situation unraveling so quickly, it became clear that Dubois couldn’t play another game in Columbus and had forced general manager Jarmo Kekalainen to make a move. In an unusual trade where two teams swapped their young, displeased superstars, he landed 22 year old winger Patrik Laine and 24 year old forward Jack Roslovic from the Winnipeg Jets. The new additions bring plenty of opportunities, and Jackets fans have lots to be excited about.
Laine has been one of the best pure scorers in the NHL for the past few years. He brings loads of skill, which Columbus has been in desperate need of, and he brings new opportunities to the Columbus power play, which at time of publication is tied for the third worst in the league.
His addition to the roster is huge. He’ll be able to create opportunities with his pure skill, jumpstart the powerplay, and open up the offence in a way the Blue Jackets haven’t had since Artemi Panarin left in 2019.
Roslovic is no doubt the smallest name in the trade, but he still has the opportunity to make a big impact. He had been playing on the wing in Winnipeg, but the Jackets are hoping to move him back to his natural position at center. A scout said of the Columbus native: “I would project him as a third-line center, if I’m betting on it.”.
The exit of Dubois leaves an enormous hole at center, a position which the Jackets didn’t have a wealth of depth at before the trade. Roslovic has good speed and skill, and with the Jackets’ lack of depth, he’ll have plenty of opportunities to play. If he can develop as a player, he can have a huge impact.
In the first game after the trade the Jackets came out with a strong 5-2 win over the defending champion Tampa Bay Lightning. While neither of the new additions played, it felt like the page had been turned on the Dubois debacle and the teams focus was fully back on winning.