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Pierre-Luc Dubois: despite yesterday’s news, he’s still got the short end of the stick
So Pierre-Luc Dubois wants to leave Winnipeg. We officially learned this yesterday, after having unofficially known about it several months ago.

The Winnipeg Jets GM heard from the horse’s mouth (or from his agent, Pat Brisson) that Dubois wants out. In fact, he doesn’t even want to stay for a year.

What a surprise.

I don’t know how long it’s been since he found out, but let’s just say this isn’t his first barbecue. After all, talented players often want to leave Winnipeg.

Far be it from me to play the bad guy, but I think it would have surprised the GM if Dubois had told him he was ready to sign long-term. After all, such a scenario doesn’t exactly happen every day in the city where the nights are long.

All that to say, I don’t think that even though the news is now public, I don’t think it changes much.

Why? Firstly, because Pat Brisson has never been afraid to use the media. He did so last year, saying that his client would like to play in Montreal one day, before he signed his one-year contract in Winnipeg. He also often talks to the Quebec media.

But above all, the announcement comes as no surprise.

We know that the Quebecer wants to play in Montreal – and therefore, wants to get out of Manitoba. Teams already knew he wouldn’t sign long-term, and I can’t believe that some teams interested in Dubois found out he wouldn’t even sign for a year in Manitoba via Pierre LeBrun’s text.

That’s why, in my eyes, the unveiling of his desire to leave Winnipeg doesn’t change anything.

That said, it does mean that Montreal is affected – regardless of when the other teams find out. After all, the fact that he doesn’t want to stay there a second longer opens the door to other teams.

And inevitably, this could force the Habs to play a game they don’t want to: that of one-upmanship.

Because despite everything, the Jets have some leverage. What leverage? The one to tell Dubois he can take his hole if ever the offers aren’t good enough. It’s happened before, in the world of sports.

On the other hand, the player also has an advantage: if he doesn’t want to sign a long-term contract, no matter with whom, he’ll be a free agent in a year. The Jets may allow him to negotiate with other clubs, or they may have the right to trade him, but if he doesn’t want to sign for more than a year, that’s his right.

In fact, it’s his most fundamental right. And if he applies it properly, he could get the short end of the stick.

The Habs have the power to say that if Dubois really wants to come to Montreal and the Jets are too greedy, there’s no hurry. I still think Kent Hughes is working hard to get him now, though.

Let’s look at it another way. If Dubois is traded to a team against his will, he can sign for just one year by going to arbitration in the next few months.

One also wonders how much “attractive and aspirational teams” can give away of established roster players and prospects to convince the Jets to give them Dubois… and then convince him to sign a big contract when the cap won’t go up.

In reality, this may still force the Jets to consider the CH more than the others.

If Dubois doesn’t want to sign elsewhere (or the teams he’d agree to go to can’t/won’t afford it), the Jets would surely prefer to trade Dubois to Montreal, where the player would obviously say yes to a long-term contract that would give him market value.

I’m not saying this as if it were simple either, since the Winnipeg club must have its price and so must the Jets player. The Jets aren’t fooled either: they have a great asset on their hands.

And that’s even if circumstances mean he doesn’t have his full value for the Jets right now.

That said, I get the feeling that he wants to play in Montreal so badly that he’d be willing to accept a home discount in negotiations. This is something that Pat Brisson, who is the agent for Dubois and Cole Caufield, understands: Nick Suzuki is the Habs’ highest paid (active) player.

Even though a long seven or eight-year contract would buy him more years of complete autonomy than Suzuki and Caufield, I imagine he understands that there’s a hierarchy in Montreal.

So even if the stakes were to rise due to Pierre LeBrun’s public outing (and not that of the Dubois clan, who saw the news being revealed publicly), I don’t think it takes the CH out of the lot.

If Dubois really wants to play in Montreal, if he can hold on to his end of the bargain and if the CH can find a reasonable price to pay the Jets and Dubois, yesterday’s news isn’t a catastrophe for the CH – on the contrary.

In gusto

– There are advantages to having a field hockey family.

– Notice to interested parties.

– A great Blue Jays game yesterday.

– Really?

– Ouch.

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