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Pierre-Luc Dubois: a third-trio player in Bob Hartley’s ideal world

It doesn’t take much to ignite the “Pierre-Luc Dubois in Montreal” spark, let’s face it. After all, we know how much the man himself wants to play in Montreal.

It’s what got him out of Columbus and (possibly) out of Winnipeg in the first place.

All indications are that it will be easier to trade him now than in the regular season. After all, big NHL trades happen in the off-season.

Clubs have more leeway.

And since the guy wants out and it would be special to trade him at the 2024 deadline if the club doesn’t have a season that warrants a fire sale, it might as well be done now, right?

Anyway, he probably played his last game in Winnipeg.

The Habs will obviously be at the heart of rumours sending him elsewhere. After all, unless he signs a long-term contract elsewhere, we know the CH rumours aren’t going to die.

And since the CH is open to the idea…

If he arrives in Montreal, we’ll have to talk about the price we’ll have to pay to get hold of his services, but also to put him under contract. And that’s not going to be easy.

After all, there are two aspects to consider: his role in the team and the salary hierarchy.

We suspect that even if Dubois has big years of autonomy to buy (he only has one year left as an RFA, unlike a guy like Cole Caufield, who had five before signing long-term), he won’t earn more money than Nick Suzuki.

If that’s the case, it’s because the CH sees him as significantly better than everyone else. But is that the case?

I’m the first to want Dubois in town, but let’s face it, he doesn’t have the craziest stats. His best season was 63 points in 73 games, which isn’t a point per game.

And since his end of season (including the playoffs) wasn’t easy, he might not be the guy you want to give more than $8M to…. He deserves a very nice contract, but not necessarily the biggest in the organization.

(Credit: Hockey DB)
In fact, this morning on the radio, Bob Hartley went even further: in the ideal world of a club with Stanley Cup aspirations, he sees Pierre-Luc Dubois as a third center.

In his eyes, a guy like Dubois can play on the second line, but his profile and what he’s shown in the NHL mean that, in a BIG club, he’s the third center.

I don’t necessarily disagree with him. But to me, it comes down to what I often say: you need several quality centers – and at worst, you play them on the wing.

Many don’t necessarily see Nick Suzuki as a #1 center on a championship club, but I think if the CH has Suzuki, Dubois and Kirby Dach as the top three centers on its club, it’s a good mix.

An injury in such a scenario, while not exactly desirable, wouldn’t hurt as much as it would elsewhere. #Depth

Obviously, there’s still a lot of work to be done before bringing a guy like Dubois to town. That said, if Kent Hughes plays his cards right, the club’s center line could take the team to (fairly) interesting levels.

In bursts

– With good reason.

– Yes, they will be better.

– Another goalie on the market? [TSLH]

– Indeed.

– The importance of rest.

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