Ever since it was reported earlier this week that Winnipeg Jets forward Pierre-Luc Dubois had informed his team of his intentions to test free agency in 2024, it seemed likely that the Dubois storyline would be a major one for this offseason. Now, we have some additional details on Dubois’ choice regarding his future. Murat Ates of The Athletic believes that Dubois “quite sincerely” wants to test free agency, and has “not been shy” about communicating that desire to the team, as well as a desire to play in Montreal “in the long run” specifically. (subscription link)
Ates specifically mentioning Montreal confirms what many had believed about Dubois, that he had his eyes on playing in his home province. Dubois actually was almost drafted by the Canadiens at the 2016 draft, but the Blue Jackets took him third overall, which scuttled that possibility. Now, Dubois could be attempting to finally find his way to the Canadiens. The Canadiens have the opportunity to solidify a Nick Suzuki and Shane Wright one-two punch down the middle at the draft next month, so it’s fair to wonder if the Canadiens’ choice at number-one overall at the draft will ultimately have an impact on Dubois’ future in Winnipeg.
Now, for some other notes about the Jets:
- One other situation worth monitoring in Winnipeg is the situation of first-line center Mark Scheifele. Ates reports that Scheifele’s name has “made it into preliminary trade conversations,” and further adds on that a contentious exit meeting between the forward and the Jets front office could broaden the fracture between the Jets and their other star center. Centers who can score at above a point-per-game rate, as Scheifele has for the past half-decade, are rarely made available on the trade market or in free agency. Teams looking for center help this offseason could add Scheifele’s name to their possible options, and any deal with him involved is sure to have a major impact on the futures of both the acquiring team and the Jets.
- In the midst of news on Dubois, Scheifele, and Blake Wheeler, the ongoing Jets coaching search may have taken a bit of a back seat in the minds of Jets fans. It has become clear that widely reported number-one choice Barry Trotz won’t be an option, and that has left the Jets to sort through the remaining candidates to find their next bench boss. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the following coaches are on the Jets’ radar for the job: two former Manitoba Moose head coaches in Scott Arniel and Pascal Vincent and two former NHL head coaches in Rick Tocchet and Jim Montgomery.