Canadiens may have been close to big offer for Pierre-Luc Dubois: report

Apr 25 2023, 8:50 pm

It would appear that the idea of Pierre-Luc Dubois joining the Montreal Canadiens is more of a “when” than an “if” scenario at this point.

And while many fans are eagerly awaiting a trade or free agency signing, the Ste-Agathe-Des-Monts native almost came to Montreal another way a few years back.

On a recent episode of The Sick Podcast with Tony Marinaro, Aaron Portzline of The Athletic added fuel to the ever-burning rumour fire regarding the player wanting to join the Habs.

Portzline told Marinaro that Dubois believed he was leaving the Columbus Blue Jackets during the 2020 offseason and that Montreal would be submitting an offer sheet for him.

“He was expecting an offer sheet from the Canadiens. If you remember, Jarmo Kekalainen made two deals at the 11th hour to clear cap space. The thing with offer sheets is, you don’t want your players signed to one and you want to set off the vibe that you will match it,” explained Portzline. “I think Dubois thought he was getting out of Columbus on an offer sheet to Montreal and that’s where it all fell apart.”

Despite rumours of issues with former Blue Jackets head coach John Tortorella, this rift between Dubois and management, apparently, began the process of his eventual trade to the Winnipeg Jets in 2021.

Last month, Sportsnet insider Elliotte Friedman reported that the Canadiens are “95%” going to end up with Dubois on their roster in the future, confirming that the Habs still have a high level of interest in bringing him to Montreal via a trade or signing.

“The Jets have talked to the Canadiens on and off about Dubois,” Friedman reported on an episode of the 32 Thoughts podcast. “Part of it is contracts, like Dubois has got a year left. And we all know how he feels [about re-signing in Winnipeg].”

Dubois signed a one-year deal with the Jets for $6 million this past season, and is set to hit restricted free agency this summer.

While the 24-year-old couldn’t sign a contract for Montreal without going through the offer sheet process (or the Jets surprisingly releasing him), he’ll be eligible to hit unrestricted free agency in Summer 2024 if he files for arbitration or signs his qualifying offer this offseason.

If Montreal wants him sooner than later, they’ll have to give up some assets. If not, both he and the Habs will have to keep playing the waiting game.

With files from Daily Hive’s Adam Laskaris

Al SciolaAl Sciola

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