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Dubois traded to Jets by Blue Jackets for Laine, Roslovic

Deal made two days after center was benched; signed two-year contract this offseason but asked to leave

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Pierre-Luc Dubois was traded to the Winnipeg Jets by the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

Winnipeg also received a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.

The trade was made two days after Dubois was benched and played an NHL-career low 3:55 in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

"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," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "We've been working on this for a while and we always said it could take a while until we find the right deal, but if the right deal is on the table we're ready to move fast. So just everything came together and we're happy with the deal."

 

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Dubois, a 22-year-old center, was a restricted free agent this offseason before signing a two-year, $10 million contract with the Blue Jackets on Dec. 31. He scored one goal in five games this season.

"I definitely have to be better," Dubois said Friday. "As hockey players, we all want to be out there, we all want to be able to help the team make a difference. I can acknowledge that I can be better. I can be a better player. I haven't had the start of the season that I wanted."

Columbus coach John Tortorella on Jan. 13 confirmed that Dubois told the Blue Jackets he no longer wanted to play for them.

"He'll walk in here, he'll present himself, we'll accept him with open arms as we always do with new players and we'll judge him by how he becomes a Winnipeg Jet," Jets coach Paul Maurice said.

Dubois led the Blue Jackets with 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 70 games last season, when he averaged 17:56 of ice time per game.

"Certainly, over the last couple of years he's developed into a very dynamic, powerful player down the middle," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said. "That's kind of how you build teams to have success, and success in the playoffs; you have to have depth down the middle. Definitely excited about what he brings to our team, and watching and playing against him, an incredibly dynamic player that we just added to our team."

Video: CBJ@DET: Dubois scores in 3rd period

The No. 3 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, Dubois scored 159 points (66 goals, 93 assists) in 239 regular-season games and 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 26 Stanley Cup Playoff games.

"To get a top center in this environment is virtually unheard of and that's why the bidding was fast and furious," Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff said. "Getting a player that's coming into his prime down the middle is something that we wouldn't have moved a Patrik Laine for anyone that didn't fit that certain criteria of a top centerman or a top defenseman. When that opportunity presented itself, I felt it was necessary that we made that move."

Columbus had lost four of its first five games (1-2-2) and was tied for 28th in the NHL averaging 2.00 goals per game entering play Saturday, prior to a 5-2 win against the Lightning. The Blue Jackets are hoping Laine, a 22-year-old forward, can help their power play, which has scored one goal this season (1-for-11, 9.7 percent). Laine has scored 52 power-play goals in the NHL.

"I think it was just shock," Laine said. "You never know what to expect. There's always rumors going around the League and now finally when they let me know earlier today, it was kind of a shock and didn't know what to do."

Laine has not played since the season opener Jan. 14 because of an upper-body injury, and can become a restricted free agent after this season. His agent, Mike Liut, suggested during the offseason a trade might be best for Laine, who is playing the final season of a two-year, $13.5 million contract ($6.75 million average annual value) he agreed to Sept. 27, 2019.

Laine scored two goals with an assist in his only game this season, a 4-3 overtime win against the Calgary Flames.

"I think I should be able to go whenever I come over," Laine said. "I think it's nothing I would be worried about too much. It's a short season. This kind of stuff happens. Players get injured, but I don't think it should worry anybody."

Laine, who was selected No. 2 in the 2016 draft, one pick before Dubois, has scored 140 goals in his five seasons, ninth in the NHL over that span. He scored 63 points (28 goals, 35 assists) in 68 games last season, his fewest goals in his first four NHL seasons, but his points-per-game average (0.93) was his highest.

"I can tell you right from the draft, we drafted Pierre-Luc at No. 3 and Patrik Laine was No. 2 and we would've given a lot to move up from three to two at that time and we're very excited to have Patrik Laine join us," Kekalainen said. "There's a price to be paid for an elite player like he is, and I think Jack Roslovic is going to be a huge part of this whole trade. He's a guy that we wanted to draft, couldn't get it done, obviously."

Laine also has 110 assists for 250 points in 306 regular-season games, and 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 24 playoff games. Last season, he injured his wrist in Game 1 of the best-of-5 Stanley Cup Qualifiers against the Flames on Aug. 1 and missed the remainder of the series, which the Jets lost in four games.

"It's awesome to be part of the Blue Jackets organization right now and [I'm] happy that they wanted me on board," Laine said. "I couldn't be more excited. It's always a new chapter and kind of going to a new place, meeting new guys. [I'm] kind of scared, but it will be fun. There's a bunch of guys I know and a couple Finnish guys and [I'm] just super excited to meet everybody and get things going."

Roslovic, who was an unsigned restricted free agent, agreed to terms on a two-year, $3.8 million contract ($1.9 million average annual value) with the Blue Jackets on Saturday. The 23-year-old forward, who is a Columbus native, scored 29 points (12 goals, 17 assists) in 71 games last season.

The No. 25 pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, he has scored 67 points (26 goals, 41 assists) in 180 regular-season games and had five assists in 20 playoff games.

"I'm really just excited about the opportunity," Roslovic said. "It just makes it that much sweeter too that it's in Columbus and I'm super happy to be here. Obviously I grew up living here watching the team play, and it's definitely just an extra cherry on top."

Video: Columbus acquires Patrik Laine

It is unclear when Dubois will be available to play for the Jets or Laine for the Blue Jackets due to coronavirus issues related to the United States-Canada border.

"Jack Roslovic has already basically joined our COVID protocol with getting tested, so we'll announce when he's available," Kekalainen said. "I think it should be a 48-hour process with getting tested and cleared. Patrik Laine is a little bit more complicated. He's day to day, injured right now, on IR, retroactively he's been there for a week. But there's also a visa process that he has to go through. So he has to get a working visa for the U.S. and then go through the protocol once he arrives here. We're going to do everything we can to speed up that process and he'll get here when he gets here."

The last time two players selected in the top five of the same NHL Draft were traded for each other was Jan. 23, 1996, when the Ottawa Senators traded forward Bryan Berard (No. 1, 1995 NHL Draft), goalie Don Beaupre and forward Martin Straka to the New York Islanders for defenseman Wade Redden (No. 2, 1995 draft) and goalie Damian Rhodes.

NHL.com senior writer Dan Rosen and staff writers Tom Gulitti and Tim Campbell contributed to this report

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