Are the Canadiens and Jets Working On a Pierre-Luc Dubois Commerce?

Pierre-Luc Dubois’ intention to test the unrestricted free agent in 2024 created uncertainty about the Winnipeg Jets’ efforts to re-sign the restricted free agent. It’s also generated trade rumors linking the 24-year-old center to the Montreal Canadiens.

Earlier this month, The Athletic’s Murat Ates reported Dubois had expressed the desire to play in Montreal. On Wednesday, he cited Dubois’ agent Pat Brisson telling TVA Sports that his client was interested in theory in playing for Montreal someday.

On Tuesday, Montreal Hockey Now’s Jimmy Murphy cited Radio-Canada’s Martin Leclerc claiming the Canadiens almost acquired Dubois during last week’s NHL draft in Montreal. Ates reported the Habs reached out to the Jets before the draft but their trade offers were inadequate.

Dubois is coming off a two-year deal worth an average annual value of $5 million with an actual cap hit last season of $6.65 million. He could seek over $7.5 million per season on a one- or two-year contract.

The Jets could re-sign Dubois and spend the coming season trying to convince him to sign a long-term extension. If that doesn’t work, they could shop him at the 2023 trade deadline or next summer. They’ll want a decent return involving perhaps a good young forward along with a first-round draft pick or a high-quality prospect.

If the Jets shop Dubois this summer, the Canadiens must shed some salary to acquire him. Cap Friendly shows them pressed against the $82.5-million cap. Defenseman Jeff Petry ($6.25-million cap hit) remains a cost-cutting trade candidate but the Montreal Gazette’s Stu Cowan reports there’s no indication a deal is in the works.

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