Pierre-Luc Dubois granted wish, traded to Jets for fellow forward Laine

Columbus and Winnipeg hooked up for a blockbuster NHL trade Saturday, with the Blue Jackets dealing Pierre-Luc Dubois and a 2022 third-round draft pick to the Jets for fellow forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, who signed a two-year, $3.8-million US deal with his new team.

The 22-year-old Dubois, who requested a trade earlier this season, had a goal in five games and reportedly would have been a healthy scratch for Saturday’s afternoon game against Tampa Bay.

He probably hastened the move by loafing in the first period of Thursday’s loss to Tampa Bay. Head coach John Tortorella benched him for the rest of the game but on Friday he and Dubois tried to downplay their growing rift.

The Blue Jackets’ No. 1 centre, Dubois made it clear when he signed a two-year contract at the end of December he wanted a change of scenery.

The native of Ste-Agathe-des-Monts, Que., topped Columbus in points (49) and assists (31) last season before recording a team-high four goals and 10 points in 10 playoff games.

Dubois had a career season in 2018-19, his second as a Blue Jacket, with career-best 27 goals, 61 points and plus-16 rating in 82 regular-season contests.

Drafted third overall in 2016, he has 66 goals and 159 points in 239 NHL regular-season games. His father, Eric, is an assistant coach with the Manitoba Moose, the Jets’ American Hockey League affiliate.

Laine day-to-day with upper-body injury

“Strengthening our lineup offensively has been a priority for us and the additions of Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic accomplish just that,” Columbus general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement.

“Patrik is a player we know very well and in a short time has become one of our league’s most proficient goal scorers. Jack is an exciting young player with great potential and we’re thrilled to bring him home to Columbus as a Blue Jacket.”

Laine, 22, scored two goals and three points in Winnipeg’s season-opening 4-3 overtime win over Calgary but has sat out the past three games due to an upper-body injury. On Friday, he was placed on injured reserve and is considered day-to-day.

In a news release, the Jets stated they would retain 26 per cent of Laine’s reported $7.5 million salary for this season. 

The Finnish winger has scored 36, 44, 30 and 28 goals in each of his four NHL seasons but has grown into a better all-around player in the process.

Roslovic, 23, is returning to his native Columbus after posting 12 goals and 29 points — both career highs — in 71 games last season.

Winnipeg was unable to sign the restricted free agent, who has 26 goals and 67 points in 180 contests since being selected 25th overall in the 2015 NHL draft.