At this point, Pierre-Luc Dubois joining the Montreal Canadiens seems like more of a “when” than an “if.”
And as we head deeper into the offseason, rumours of the Winnipeg Jets forward coming to the Habs only continue to gain momentum. A recent report from The Athletic’s Jets beat writer Murat Ates shed some light on negotiations between Winnipeg and Montreal.
According to Ates, the Jets and Canadiens discussed a potential trade involving the Quebec-born player multiple times last summer. Apparently, one proposal even involved Winnipeg trying to acquire Canadiens captain Nick Suzuki.
“One version of the discussion I’ve heard says Winnipeg was after Nick Suzuki — a non-starter for Montreal,” wrote Ates.
According to the report, Montreal also tried to put together a package deal involving forwards Christian Dvorak and Josh Anderson, along with a first-round pick, which Winnipeg declined.
It seems that the longer the Jets wait, the less likely they will be to walk away with a favourable return for the centre.
Back in March NHL insider Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet 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].”
Aside from the two teams making a trade, the 24-year-old can’t sign a contract with Montreal without going through the offer sheet process, which is a rare course of action in the NHL.
He’ll be eligible to hit unrestricted free agency in summer 2024 if he files for arbitration or signs his qualifying offer this offseason.