Blockbuster trade might be temporary solution for Blue Jackets and Jets
The Columbus Blue Jackets and Winnipeg Jets reached an agreement Saturday that will solve two problems with a single trade.
The Blue Jackets send their No. 1 center Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third-round pick to the Jets for high scoring wing Patrik Laine and dependable center Jack Roslovic.
This mutually beneficial swap is the kind of big name blockbuster deal that seems more appropriate for the 1950s rather than 2021. It helped that Laine and Dubois are making similar money.
From the Blue Jackets' perspective, they rid themselves of a player who wanted out of Columbus. Coach John Tortorella had benched after a lackadaisical shift in the team's last game. Even though Dubois has two seasons left on his contract, it seems clear that his presence was going to be a distraction.
In addition, the Blue Jackets are probably picking up some goals in the deal. Dubois scored 27 goals in his second NHL season, but he had 18 goals and 49 points last season. Roslovic, 23, netted 12 goals in 70 games last season, but he boasts some up-side.
You can make an argument that the Blue Jackets are adding at least 20 goals with this trade.
Roslovic is from Columbus, and will be quite happy playing in Columbus.
"When we like the player, and he's from here, it's an added bonus," Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "...When I talked to Patrik Laine he told me that Jack has always been a big advocate of Columbus and the Blue Jackets and spoken very highly of both of them. That's a great start."
From the Jets' perspective, they land the No. 2 center they have been trying to find. They now have a one-two center combination of Mark Scheifele and Dubois. They rid themselves of two players who didn't want to play in Winnipeg.
The Jets like the fact that Dubois has two seasons remaining on his deal paying him $5 million. Laine will be a restricted free agent this summer. He is making just under $5 million. Another contract fight was anticipated.
While this deal solves their immediate problems and helps both teams compete for a playoff spot, it could end up being a temporary solution.
It is presumed Laine and Dubois had been hoping to land in a major market, and they are both moving to another smaller market. That doesn't mean they won't like their new surroundings and be happy to re-sign there. But it's possible we could end up next summer with both asking to be traded again.
The other question worth asking is whether Tortorella and Laine will be a good match. Considering how challenging it is for the Blue Jackets to score goals, Torts will appreciate Laine's scoring prowess. He is only 22 and has 140 NHL goals. He could be another Ovechkin.
But Laine isn't known as a complete player. Will he be willing to bend to Tortorella's demanding style?
The Blue Jackets, who currently aren't paying anyone more than $5.875 million, are going to have go much higher to get Laine on a long-term extension. But they were going to have to go higher on Dubois as well. They have to keep in mind that Seth Jones can be an unrestricted free agent in 2022.
The Blue Jackets have had difficulty persuading players to stay in Columbus. The most recent departures were Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky. They will want to keep Laine. Maybe Roslovic can help convince him to sign a long-term deal.