Pierre-Luc Dubois wants to leave the Columbus Blue Jackets, coach John Tortorella said Wednesday.
“Yeah, he wants out,” Tortorella said “Rothman and Ice” on 97.1 The Fan in Columbus. “He spoke to the team, like we do here. It’s a little different from [Artemi Panarin] and [Sergei Bobrovsky] were. He’s a 22 year old kid. It doesn’t happen that often, so he was honest with the band. I wish he had been a little more honest about the reasons. I still haven’t really gotten there, but I think he needs to talk about it. I do not want. ”
The Blue Jackets open their season at the Nashville Predators on Thursday (8 p.m. ET; FS-TN, FS-O, NHL.TV).
Dubois, a center that was a restricted free agent, signed a two-year, $ 10 million (average annual value of $ 5 million) contract with Columbus on Dec.31. The Athletic reported that Dubois “may be looking for a change of scenery” but did not confirm this when he showed up to training camp.
“[Dubois] had a good camp, but that’s a short leash with me as far as it is concerned, “Tortorella said.” He has to keep doing things to help this team win and be the best teammate he can be, or me ‘I don’t know where it’s going. It is a situation, and we will come back to it day after day. ”
When the Blue Jackets opened training camp on January 3, Tortorella said Columbus would treat Dubois the same as when Panarin and Bobrovsky were in the final season of their respective contracts in 2018-19. Panarin signed a seven-year contract with the New York Rangers, and Bobrovsky signed a seven-year contract with the Florida Panthers, each on July 1, 2019.
General manager Jarmo Kekalainen has not said whether the Blue Jackets will trade Dubois, who led Columbus with 49 points (18 goals, 31 assists) in 70 games last season. When Tortorella was asked about the coach-player relationship, he said he didn’t know how Dubois felt while acknowledging that he had had a conflict with the No.3 pick in the 2016 NHL Draft since he he made his NHL debut in 2017-18. season.
“I look at the conflict differently… everyone is excited by the arguments and this and that, what happened on the bench,” Tortorella said. “I think it’s so healthy because then I think you have the two individuals in the middle of it who are being honest with each other. And I think that’s a very good thing in developing a hockey player.
“Now ‘Luke’ might not think that. Sometimes these players, especially today’s athletes, think, ‘You’re too hard on me, you’re laughing at me’, and this and that. Maybe it’s too hard for him. I do not know. I was not told why he wanted to leave. He certainly didn’t tell me “I don’t want to play for you.”
“I think if that’s the reason why he should tell me, and he should really get in front and get out of here. That’s just how I think you should do business here. He doesn’t. It doesn’t make sense that people are trying to figure out what’s going on. Let’s go over here and go and try to be the best team we can be. ”
Dubois led the Blue Jackets with 10 points (four goals, six assists) in 10 games of the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season, which ended in a five-game loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the first Eastern Conference round. He scored 158 points (65 goals, 93 assists) in 234 regular season games and 19 points (eight goals, 11 assists) in 26 playoff games.
“It’s very difficult for me when a guy doesn’t want to be here at such a young age and the time we’ve spent on him trying to develop him and just looking to go,” Tortorella said. “It’s tough for me. I’m not sure where it’s going with me over the season, I’ll be pretty honest with you, because I want to spend my time developing the people who want to be here, but I stay must train the hockey team to be the best they can be. ”