Montreal Canadiens: Pierre-Luc Dubois One Step Closer To Free Agency

Jun 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Carey Price Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Carey Price Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports /

The Montreal Canadiens have been heavily linked to centre Pierre-Luc Dubois this offseason. The 24 year old Winnipeg Jets forward was a restricted free agent and informed his team that he does not want to sign long term and is looking to test unrestricted free agency in two years.

His agent went so far as to say Dubois is interested in playing for the Montreal Canadiens in the future. That’s not something you hear every day, especially for a team like the Canadiens. Attracting free agents has been nearly impossible in Montreal, but it sounds like Dubois will be willing and hoping to sign a deal to join his hometown team.

The rumours also fuelled speculation that perhaps a trade could be worked out between the two sides. If the Jets understand they are going to lose Dubois to free agency in two years, shouldn’t they just trade him now to get something in return?

Then again, it wouldn’t really make sense for the Canadiens to meet the Jets asking price if they know they can sign this player as a free agent in a couple of years. It really wouldn’t make sense when you consider the Canadiens don’t expect to be any good in the meantime.

Instead, they can just bide their time, see how Dubois plays over the next two years, and see what kind of player Kirby Dach turns into in that time. If Dach and Nick Suzuki already form an elite one-two punch down the middle, maybe Dubois isn’t needed. If Dach turns out to be more of a third line centre or a winger in the future, then the Canadiens can turn their attention to Dubois in free agency.

Dubois got one step closer to unrestricted free agency yesterday. He formally agreed to sign his qualifying offer with the Jets. This means he accepted their one-year contract with a cap hit of $6 million for the upcoming season.

Now, all Dubois has to do is accept the qualifying offer again in a year’s time and he is headed to unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2024. Then, he would be free to sign wherever he pleases, which, according to his agent, is with the Montreal Canadiens.

While it appeared unlikely, a long term contract would have made it nearly impossible that Dubois would end up with the Canadiens down the road. Him accepting his qualifying offer is a bad sign for his long term future in Winnipeg, and a great sign for the Montreal Canadiens who must be licking their chops waiting for the centre to become available in two years.

A Winning Habit
A Winning Habit /

Want your voice heard? Join the A Winning Habit team!

Write for us!

Related Story. Why Habs don't need to trade for cap space. light