So…this was an eventful week.
It was a slow start to the season, with the Blue Jackets stumbling to a 1-2-1 start. Most of the stars were nonfactors, including Pierre-Luc Dubois, who demanded a trade prior to the start of training camp. PLD scored just one point in those four games, the game-winner last Monday in Detroit.
Then, during the first period of the home opener — against the defending Stanley Cup champions — Dubois played just five shifts before being stapled to the bench for the remainder of the game. The final shift ended with Dubois floating to the corner and standing still while losing a “battle” for the puck with Tyler Johnson.
While there were mixed reviews in hockey media for Torts’ decision, there was consensus that PLD’s behavior deserved some punishment. These breakdowns on Sportsnet from Justin Bourne and Steve Dangle are good breakdowns from the perspective of neutral observers.
The situation was irreparably broken, as spelled out by MrSwift13 on Friday. I don’t agree that it’s time for Torts to go, but I do think it’s more and more likely that he retires at the end of the season when his contract expires. As for Dubois, by Friday night it was reported that trade talks had intensified, with the Jackets narrowing their focus on a few potential trade partners.
On Saturday afternoon, as the team prepared to face the Lightning again, the trade went through: in return for Dubois and a 2022 third round pick, Columbus received forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic from the Winnipeg Jets.
Dubois was a joy to watch here for three seasons, meeting or exceeding the expectations from his surprise selection with the third pick of the 2016 draft. Unfortunately, his reputation here may be tainted for awhile due to his final game as a Jacket.
If the Jackets were going to trade Dubois, I wanted them to get a legitimate scoring forward in return. It’s safe to say Laine fits that description. He has 250 points in 306 career games, plus another 16 points in 24 playoff games over the last three seasons. Of his 140 goals, 52 game with the man advantage. If he can’t help the Blue Jackets power play, then nothing can.
He has a personality, too!
Jack Roslovic is a player that Jarmo Kekalainen claims the Jackets have been looking to acquire since his draft year. He has struggled to find heavy minutes in Winnipeg, and has not spent as much time at his preferred position, center. Most notably, he is the first Columbus-born player drafted in the first round. He had not yet signed his next contract, so he was working out here with the AAA Blue Jackets during the start of the season. He signed a two year contract with the Jackets on Saturday worth a total of $3.8 million. His career high in points was 12/17/29 in 71 games last year, so I don’t have high hopes of him being a major weapon. That being said, he will have his chance to play center here and to crack the top 6 if he can earn it.
Now that you’ve had a day to reflect, what do you think of the trade? Are you like me, and made more excited about it due to the cathartic victory over Tampa on Saturday?
The week that was
Here are some individual milestones that certain Blue Jackets may hit this season.
Will and Rachel recapped the first three games on The Cannon Cast.
Rachel ranted about the infuriating stalemate between Sinclair Broadcasting and streaming services that are keeping fans from legally watching the Jackets this season.
The Cleveland Monsters released their schedule for the 2021 season. They’re playing just five opponents for a total of 28 games.
Nathan Gerbe was called up from the taxi squad, in place of Emil Bemstrom. Brandon Dubinsky was placed on long-term injured reserve for salary cap purposes.
One former Blue Jacket weighed in on the trade:
Tuesday and Thursday: Home vs. Florida
Friday and Sunday: Away at Chicago
Big series in Nationwide, with the return of former Blue Jackets including Sergei Bobrovsky, Alexander Wennberg, and Anthony Duclair. The Panthers have not played since Tuesday, due to COVID cancellations among their scheduled opponents. Will they be fresh or rusty?
Over the weekend is a trip to Chicago. The Blackhawks were predictably woeful in their first two series against Tampa and Florida, but bounced back this weekend with a home sweep of the Detroit.
Mikko Koivu is cleared from the COVID protocol and is expected to make his season and CBJ debut on Tuesday. Jack Roslovic may be available then too, or Thursday at the latest. One of the Chicago games may be the earliest we could see Patrik Laine play.
A quick PSA for those of you looking for additional live hockey to watch. This weekend, the NWHL kicked off their two-week bubble tournament in Lake Placid, NY. All games are streaming on Twitch, with the semifinals and championship game aired on NBCSN. Check out this preview from SBN site The Ice Garden for more information, and be sure to check back to read all of their coverage of the event. As a site we have decided to stan the Buffalo Beauts, and it looks like Stinger agrees with us: