Don Sweeney has loads on his plate this offseason.
Clearing cap house in an effort to alleviate a fiscal crunch stands on the prime of the Bruins’ to-do checklist over the summer season.
However with each Patrice Bergeron and David Krejci nonetheless weighing their futures within the wake of a crushing first-round exit, the Bruins additionally want to depart no stone unturned in terms of including expertise on the middle place.
It hasn’t taken very lengthy for one promising pivot to place himself out on the commerce market.
In response to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic, Pierre-Luc Dubois and his representatives have knowledgeable the Winnipeg Jets that the younger ahead doesn’t intend to signal long-term with the group, and a commerce is likely to be one of the best path ahead.
Dubois, 24, is about to hit restricted free company this summer season earlier than turning into a UFA in 2024.
Given Dubois’ skillset, age, and Boston’s murky future so far as its middle pipeline, concentrating on the Jets ahead certain looks like a no brainer.
However simply how viable is a Dubois commerce for the Bruins in 2023? Let’s weigh the professionals and cons of a possible blockbuster transfer.
Professional: Dubois is an ideal piece so as to add to a revamped Bruins core.
Even with their cap woes and the unsure futures of Bergeron and Krejci, the Bruins ought to nonetheless subject a really aggressive roster in 2023-24. Past that, they’ve acquired a youthful core locked in place long-term that Sweeney and Boston’s entrance workplace ought to be capable of construct round within the years forward.
David Pastrnak (signed by way of 2031) is a 60-goal scorer who ought to proceed to torment opposing defenses for years to return. Pavel Zacha (signed by way of 2027) might be a top-six stalwart shifting ahead.
Boston’s blue line can be anchored by two top-15 defensemen in Hampus Lindholm and Charlie McAvoy, each now signed by way of 2030.
And though their goalie corps might see some main upheaval this summer season, the Bruins ought to be in good fingers in the event that they lock in Jeremy Swayman long-term as their future No. 1 choice between the pipes.
Add in a rising cap ceiling in 2024 and past, and the Bruins are positioned effectively as a crew that ought to proceed to compete past the Bergeron Period.
The lone roadblock in that equation is the shortage of two high quality facilities down the center. Although Zacha might step right into a 2C position, the Bruins may have some robust sledding forward in 2023-24 if each Bergeron and Krejci cling up their skates.
And even when a kind of two legendary pivots do return subsequent 12 months, it solely additional delays the inevitable (and unenviable) process of changing them down the center in 2024.
Swinging a commerce for a confirmed top-six common like Dubois does extra than simply alleviates these issues within the quick time period.
With Dubois nonetheless not even in his prime, he’d match the mildew of Sweeney’s long-term plans of constructing a sustainable, contending roster five-plus years down the road.
Although Boston has been fixated on a “win-now” mindset over the previous couple of years, Sweeney has planted the seeds for his long-term imaginative and prescient by buying and signing key property like Lindholm and Zacha long-term to affix the subsequent wave of B’s management.
Dealing for a 24-year-old Dubois and inking him to a prolonged contract would observe an identical script.
Con: It would value a ton to amass Dubois.
In a stunning flip of occasions, making an attempt to commerce for a longtime, 24-year-old middle goes to value a reasonably penny.
And whereas the Bruins do have some property that may be moved, Winnipeg isn’t precisely a perfect commerce associate by way of what Boston is likely to be snug with giving up.
The Jets appear destined for an in depth retool this summer season, with GM Kevin Cheveldayoff seemingly breaking apart an underachieving core of gamers like Blake Wheeler, Mark Scheifele, and Dubois.
After all, the Bruins might dangle blue-chip prospects like Mason Lohrei, Fabian Lysell, or Georgii Merkulov. However a first-round choose is probably going one other ask from Winnipeg, and Boston doesn’t have one other first till 2025. They gained’t choose within the second spherical till 2026.
One other approach to facilitate a deal is to ship established NHL gamers again in a commerce with the Jets. However would a retooling Winnipeg crew really need gamers already hovering round 30 years previous?
Linus Ullmark might be Boston’s prime commerce chip this summer season, however does a Jets crew that already has Connor Hellebuyck actually need to exchange him with a fellow veteran?
Taylor Corridor might be a helpful middle-six pickup for a lot of different groups, however what would the Jets actually do with a 31-year-old ahead like him?
Even when Winnipeg wished both Ullmark or Corridor, each gamers have commerce protections that might hinder a commerce out to Manitoba.
If Boston has to maneuver lineup regulars off this crew in a cope with the Jets, you’re seemingly taking a look at youthful, efficient gamers like Jake DeBrusk, Brandon Carlo, and even Jeremy Swayman — together with the aforementioned draft capital.
That’s lots to surrender by a crew that ideally needs to retain most of their youthful contributors for the lengthy haul.
However once more, you’ve acquired to provide to get on this league.
Professional: Dubois suits the mildew of what the Bruins are searching for in a top-six common.
Dubois isn’t a famous person positioned in the identical tier as a Jack Eichel or Matthew Tkachuk.
However Dubois might create an identical influence for a crew trying to do some harm within the postseason.
Bruins followers seemingly haven’t spent a lot time assessing Dubois’ recreation throughout his time up within the frozen tundra of Winnipeg. However the pugnacious ahead would seemingly endear himself to the TD Backyard crowd briefly order due to his coveted mix of ability and snarl.
A gradual offensive contributor, Dubois has surpassed the 60-point mark thrice in his six full NHL seasons, together with a career-high 63 factors (27 objectives, 36 assists) in 73 video games in 2022-23. He’s additionally thrived as an efficient netfront choice on the Jets’ power-play unit throughout his tenure there.
However at 6-feet-4-inches and 214 kilos, Dubois can be a bruising energy ahead who has a knack for making his presence felt past simply the scoresheet. Dubois has logged over 100 hits in three of his six seasons, ending with 71 hits and 77 penalty minutes in 2022-23.
Rolling out a top-six common able to scoring 30 objectives and doling out a slew of punishing hits is a uncommon asset in immediately’s NHL. The Panthers benefited from having an influence ahead like Tkachuk anchoring their prime six unit throughout this playoff run.
Prying a participant like Dubois out of Winnipeg not solely would handle a essential void on Boston’s depth chart, it will give the B’s roster make-up some much-needed heft, particularly as soon as the calendar flips to the spring.
Con: Does Dubois even need to play in Boston?
The Bruins are already taking a look at an uphill climb within the Dubois sweepstakes, provided that many different suitors with extra draft capital/prospects ought to be capable of outbid them this summer season.
However in terms of Dubois’ second commerce request of his younger profession, it’s inconceivable to disregard the a number of ties between him and his native crew, the Montreal Canadiens.
Dubois’ agent, Pat Brisson, famous final summer season through the 2022 NHL Draft in Montreal that the Habs are a crew that the Quebec native would need to play for.
That hypothesis has carried over into this offseason, additional fueled by Dubois’ want to hunt a commerce out of Winnipeg.
Although Dubois doesn’t formally hit unrestricted free company till 2024, any crew that trades for him this summer season seemingly needs a long-term contract in place.
In response to Arpon Basu and Marc Antoine Godin of The Athletic, it does appear to be Dubois will submit a listing of 5 – 6 groups to the Jets that he’d be keen to signal an extension with.
Montreal will seemingly be on the checklist, and each Basu and Godin added that Dubois is likely to be keen to accept much less cash on a brand new contract if he lands with a real Stanley Cup contender.
However are the Bruins on that quick checklist?
Con: Dubois does have some baggage throughout his earlier stops.
You may’t deny Dubois’ high-end expertise and his capacity to wreak havoc at any time when he hops over the boards.
However you can also’t ignore the varied purple flags he’s planted within the ice with each the Blue Jackets and now the Jets.
Dubois drew loads of criticism for requesting a commerce from Columbus in 2021 and subsequently dogging it on shifts within the days main as much as his commerce to Winnipeg.
And though he was productive in Winnipeg, this may now mark his second reported commerce request in somewhat over two years.
Add within the Jets’ second-half slide and subsequent lackluster displaying within the postseason (as known as out by their coach in Rick Bowness), and Dubois doesn’t precisely have probably the most sterling resume past the stat sheet.
After all, a ticket out of Winnipeg and that management group is likely to be one of the best for Dubois, particularly if he lands in a longtime dressing room like Boston.
There have been loads of cases the place gamers with “purple flags” have thrived after a clear slate. Simply ask the Golden Knights if they’ve any regrets over plucking a depressing Jack Eichel out of Buffalo.
Nonetheless, if the Bruins are going to surrender a ton of property for Dubois, they should do their due diligence.
Given the seemingly value, they want to verify he suits in with the accountable, team-first tradition that they hope endures lengthy after franchise pillars like Bergeron name it quits.
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