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.
WATCH | Rob Pizzo takes a look at the blockbuster Jets-Blue Jackets trade:
"We've been working on this for a while and we've always said that it could take a while until we find the right deal, but if the right deal is on the table we're ready to move fast," Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said. "So just everything came together."
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.
Jets head coach Paul Maurice isn't worried about how Dubois' time in Columbus ended.
"I don't know what went on there," he said. "None of us were a part of what went on there. You have no idea what went on in the background, so I'd be very careful with my character assassinations before I get to meet the man. He'll walk in here, he'll present himself, we'll accept him with open arms as we always do with new players.
"We're giving up an elite shooter that I firmly believe is going to develop into a strong, very powerful power forward," Maurice said of Laine. "And then we're going to get a power forward that I think is going to develop into an elite point-producer. So different starting points. … They're both going to be big, powerful men that'll drive play and drive offence."
Dubois, drafted third overall in 2016, 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," 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.
"I won't lie. It's kind of sad," Jets captain Blake Wheeler said of Laine being traded. "There weren't any smiles, put it that way. I think we were both sad we're at this point. But he has nothing but a fan in me."
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.
"He's a hometown boy, and we think he can play centre in the National Hockey League," Kekalainen said. "He's got tremendous speed and skill and hockey sense, and we're excited to have both those players join the Blue Jackets."