The NHL doesn’t feel like there are as many big blockbuster trades as there have been in the past, but on Saturday morning the ice hockey world was rocked by a rare massive trade in young star players. Patrick Laine goes to Columbus to send Pierre-Luc Dubois to Winnipeg.
The second part of this trade has some relevance to the penguins – they were keen to trade for unsigned RFA Jack Roslovic. Instead, Roslovic is also traveling to Columbus as part of this deal.
Pittsburgh are likely a little upset that they won’t get a chance to bring Roslovic over, but it could be a boon in disguise. As a reporter Eric Duhatschek said recently in The Athletic“Winnipeg would love to get some design capital back” for Roslovic. You got a third round on that deal. The pens could have made a selection for the third round in 2022, but the Jets would undoubtedly have pushed for a second round for 2021 in a standalone trade. The pens only have a second, fifth, and three 7th rounds in 2021, with trading on this highest selection may not be something they are comfortable with.
And even if Pittsburgh chose Roslovic for the third round in 2022, the Seattle expansion must also be considered. The pens are already in a traffic jam with too many good strikers and not enough spots to protect them. You will almost certainly have to skip two of the three available between Jared McCann, Brandon Tanev and Teddy Blueger. You have no place to protect Roslovic, who would be added to the list.
Seattle will only be able to accept one player, but imagine sending a future draft pick for 2022 to lose the young NHL player who won the expansion draft a few months later? That would be more unfortunate asset management and would just look completely unnecessary and avoidable. So it could be a better game in the long run that Pittsburgh Roslovic failed to land.
But this big deal isn’t so much about Roslovic as it is about exchanging young stars in their twenties. How will Patrick Laine, a former top scorer of 40+ with a huge shot but sometimes an odd-looking attitude, fare with a tough coach like John Tortorella? Laine is RFA again this summer, and his long-term NHL home idea probably wasn’t Columbus. How long will this arrangement last? Some very interesting topics to think about and it almost feels like the Blue Jackets answered one question in a way that it will raise more questions in the future.
The jets are now super stacked in the middle. Mark Scheifele is one of the best players in the league who receives little national attention. Dubois really isn’t that good a two-way center as its reputation suggests, but he’s a very, very good player and only 22. Veteran Paul Stastny is back in the fold and Adam Lowry is a big-body checker. That’s a really deep group in the middle of Winnipeg and it’s hard not to be impressed that they were able to turn a disgruntled winger into a very elitist young center.