It finally happened. The Winnipeg Jets traded forward Patrik Laine and centre Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets for centre Pierre-Luc Dubois and a third round pick for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
The blockbuster trade went down Saturday morning and effectively solves a multitude of problems for both hockey clubs.
All three involved players requested trades in recent months.
“Pierre-Luc has been an important part of our team the past four seasons, but this was the right time for both parties to move in a different direction,” said Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen in a statement. “Strengthening our lineup offensively has been a priority for us and the additions of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic accomplish just that.”
Losing Laine will sting for the Jets, but it’s no secret the forward struggled to find happiness in Winnipeg. He grew increasingly frustrated with his position on the roster, a matter that received no small measure of publicity over the years.
The 22-year-old had an extensive contract negotiation ahead of the 2019-2020 season. He wound up signing a two-year bridge deal to the tune of $6.75 million a year. The contract was set to expire at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season, a sure symbol of more negotiations between player and team to come.
Going into the 2020-2021 season, Laine’s representatives floated the idea that a trade might be “mutually beneficial” for both the Jets and the Finnish forward. It was the sort of thing that set the franchise on a clock.
In 306 career regular season games with Winnipeg, the Tampere native scored 140 goals and added 110 assists for a total of 250 points.
25-year-old Roslovic likewise sought more out of his tenure in Winnipeg, hoping to crack the top two lines. The restricted free agent inked a two-year deal with Columbus Saturday and is seeking more opportunities in his new digs.
As for Dubois, his story is also well-publicized. The recipient of a Tortorella benching made his feelings known shortly after signing a two-year deal worth $10 million days before the start of the 2020-2021 season.
The 22-year-old had been aggressively pursued by several NHL clubs ahead of Saturday’s deal and now has the chance to become a new star in a new market.
In 239 games for Columbus, Dubois posted 66 goals and 93 assists for a total of 159 points.
Pic: Dilip Vishwanat/Associated Press