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Should The Avalanche Be Pursuing Pierre-Luc Dubois In A Trade?



nhl avalanche dubois

If the Colorado Avalanche were to build an ideal center to play behind Nathan MacKinnon, it might be Pierre-Luc Dubois.

He’s got the size, as he’s listed at 6’4″, 214 pounds. He’s got the skill, having produced 60+ points in each of his last two seasons, including 55 goals. And he’s the perfect age, at just 24 (soon to be 25) years old.

So…what’s the holdup? The Avalanche should be blowing up Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff’s phone every day, right?

It’s not quite that simple.

On Wednesday, news came out that Pierre-Luc Dubois would like to be traded this summer by the Jets. Not a huge surprise, to be honest. A restricted free agent coming off the best season of his NHL career, Dubois and his agent Pat Brisson have let the Jets know that it might be best for both parties to separate. He might even be willing to sit out the start of the year, although no one wants it to get to that point.

Keep in mind, this is not the first time Dubois has asked for a change of scenery in the NHL. A few years back, he demanded a trade out of Columbus, which is how he ended up in Winnipeg in the first place. The exact reason why he wanted out of Columbus never came to light, although the internet may tell you differently. Either way, this is nothing new for him.

But should that be enough to stop the Avalanche from going after Dubois? I don’t believe so. He’s big, he’s in the prime of his career, and he’s a dang near perfect fit for the team.

The biggest thing hanging over any Dubois trade talk is what his intentions are beyond next season. As a restricted free agent, he could opt for a one-year deal and test unrestricted free agency next summer. The general belief is his preference is to play for the Montreal Canadiens. Last summer, his agent said as much.

Is he even interested in negotiating a long-term deal with another team? Any team looking to acquire him will almost certainly seek permission to discuss that with his representation. And if he isn’t, should that stop the Avalanche from pursuing him?

Not necessarily.

With the long-term injury to Gabriel Landeskog, the Avalanche have a chance to go out and make a big splash this summer. And Dubois would be a very big splash. The injury news was terrible for the Captain, but it gave the team clarity heading into the offseason on how much room they have to work with. The other thing that has become very clear? Second line center needs to be addressed.

Should the fear of losing Dubois for nothing to free agency scare the Avalanche? Definitely. It should scare any team interested in acquiring him. But not enough to not target the player.

This Avalanche team is built to win now. MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen, Cale Makar, Artturi Lehkonen. All of those players are in the prime of their careers. They don’t care about a late first round pick that may never make it to the NHL, and if they do, it might be five years from now. They care about winning right now. The core got a taste of it in 2022, and they want more. And this past season showed that this team isn’t going to win without a legitimate option behind MacKinnon in the lineup.

You can find depth players anywhere. We see it every year in the league. But impact top-six centers don’t come around very often. The Avalanche took a chance acquiring Nazem Kadri a few years back and it paid off. It might be time to take a chance again.

If you take a swing and you miss, then at least you went for it. Only one team can win the Cup, after all. But at least you go out knowing that you gave your core an opportunity to win by adding a real good player.

And who knows? Maybe after you acquire him, he realizes he wants to be here and signs long-term.

You won’t know unless you try.

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