Irresponsible Rumormongering

Thoughts on Pierre-Luc Dubois as an option for the NY Rangers

Another day, another young center rumored to be on the trade block. This time it is Columbus Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois, and his name has piqued the interest of Rangers fans. His name initially popped up in rumors on New Year’s Eve. These rumors subsided when he was signed to a deal two hours later. But then they resurfaced as Larry Brooks mentioned Dubois doesn’t want to sign long term.

For the Rangers, acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois would mean getting a young, cost controlled center who is quite good. The question then becomes – how much would it cost, and is his production worth that cost?

Dubois’ Stats

Dubois is a top line center who is putting up 50-60 points as a 22 year old. That may not seem like much, but Columbus isn’t exactly a high powered offense. He was playing mostly with Gustav Nyquist and David Savard, who are solid but not really offensively gifted players.

The advanced numbers show Dubois is a pretty solid offensive driver, but not very good on defense. That’s fine, as he wouldn’t be used in a role that requires superior defensive play. Plus it’s fair to assume he will only get better, since he’s just 22 years old. The powerplay production is a bit concerning, though.

It’s safe to assume that with the Rangers, Dubois would immediately supplant Ryan Strome as the 2C, and he’d get time with Artemi Panarin and Kaapo Kakko. Panarin will certainly boost Dubois’ production, but how much would depend on Kakko’s ability to turn it around this season. It also helps that Panarin and Dubois are familiar with each other.

Trade Cost

This is always the issue. The Blue Jackets won’t give up a 22 year old top center that easily. It’s safe to assume they ask for Kakko, which in return gets a dial tone from the Rangers. So it would have to be a package deal that doesn’t include Kakko or Alexis Lafreniere.

It’s safe to assume that Filip Chytil would need to be involved. Center for center, after all. But Chytil is not on the same level as Dubois. At least not yet. More needs to be added.

The two strongest points in the Rangers farm system are wing and defense. There are only two real options at wing to trade, and those are Vitali Kravtsov and Julien Gauthier. Kravtsov and Chytil might work, since I doubt Gauthier has significant enough trade value. If it’s defense, then it’s Tony DeAngelo or Ryan Lindgren at the NHL level. At the prospect level, it’s K’Andre Miller, Matthew Robertson, or Nils Lundkvist.

Suffice it to say, acquiring Dubois is going to hurt.

Cap Crunch

Any trade would need to consider Dubois getting at least $6.5 million once his current deal expires in two years. By that point, the Rangers will need deals for Kakko and Adam Fox, and be one year away from a new deal for Lafreniere.

But the elephant in the room is Mika Zibanejad. His team-friendly deal would be up, and he’s likely to get close to double his current cap hit. If the Rangers acquire Dubois, given all the other contracts, it is unlikely the Rangers would be able to keep Zibanejad. At least not without shedding Jacob Trouba’s contract.

Between the trade cost and the downstream cap cost, it will be a tough pill to swallow if the Rangers acquire Pierre-Luc Dubois. Going down this road means parting ways with more than we might like. That’s usually how trades go, unfortunately.

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  • If the Rangers really think Miller is ready to play with Trouba and TDA is back to 3RD I would consider TDA and Chytil. I like Tony but if he is back to RHD then we will struggle to find a spot for Schneider and Nils in 2 years even without him. And his salary makes the numbers work. Hard to evaluate Chytil as he has a big upside but he’s been in the league for much of 3 seasons and hasn’t exceeded half a point a game. He may or may not make it to 2nd line center. Dubois is already an awesome 2C, possibly even a 1C-2 to Mika’s 1C-1. And he is only 22!

    • If we are looking to make a deal that will make us better we have lots of offense I’d rather see them go to St. Louis and get that kid done and put him next to Truva family Garden really solid top four and we could put two kids in that bottom pairing

  • Interesting, but I am trying to figure out why the Blue Jackets would want to make the trades mentioned. They’d probably at least want a Kakko or a Kravstov.

    • They may want the moon but I think their options are limited by all the teams with cap issues. And they likely will want to trade PLD sooner than later as he apparently has made it clear he doesn’t like playing for Torts. It’s not like the year they went for it with Bob & Bread- they need to replace PLD with good young assets. Not sure there are any teams can match the Rangers for good young assets to make this deal work.

  • Assets available to do a deal, cap room is manageable if you bank cap credits up to the trade deadline.

    You are bringing in PLD to replace Ziba when his contract is up, FULL STOP. That’s just basic cap/roster management.

  • Chytil, a D prospect, and a first, would be my guess. And I would seriously consider that.

    But IDK that the CBJs make a trade like this within the division.

  • Very conflicted … very. If a deal involves Strome plus the right prospect and a draft choice, I could be easily convinced. The question is, which prospect.

  • Good morning all! Looking forward to another NYR season. Thankfully it is finally here. How about Chytil and Buchnevich? Buch is a proven vet that is going to get at least 5.5mil a year on his new deal after next season. He gives us the payroll flexibility to pay Dubois. Chytil offers them a young controllable player with upside. Both players move into their lineup immediately. But if we are going to move assets and Jack Eichel can be had (Buffalo will try to hold on to him and get rid of the entire team first) I would rather do that deal. Eichel is cost controlled at 10mil a year for the next 6 years. Would a package of Buch, Chytil, Nils and a first get that done? And would you do it?

  • I like Dubois a lot. Do I think CBJ would trade someone that young and talented within the division? Probably not, since they have a bunch of teams inquiring about him.
    But let’s say CBJ and NYR matchup. Would a package of Chytil and Nils Lundqvist be enough? I think so. If they asked for more or wanted anyone other than Kravstov I would pass, as the trade would be too disruptive to the Rangers’ lineup. I realize Chytil and Nils have big upsides, but you have to endure some pain to obtain a 2C. What the Rangers should avoid is disrupting 3 or more pieces from their current roster to fit any player at this juncture of their rebuild. I don’t think CBJ would be interested in Strome or Tony D. If Chytil and Nils become stars…so be it. If Dubois shines on B’way it would be a win/win for both teams.

    That being said I don’t think Dubois is being traded to NYR.

  • Honestly I think it’s a pipe dream. Jackets I don’t think they will trade within the division, and specifically with the Rangers. (Davidson)..
    if they do trade him here,we would absolutely have to overpay.

    We have the resources,but do we want too.
    Some combination of

    Strome,Chytil,Kravstov,ADA,Robertson,Lundqvist maybe Buch.and possibly a #1 would need to go.

    Absolutely no Fox,Kappo or Lafreniere otherwise hang up.
    I think if he goes somewhere it might be to the Kings..There stacked with prospects.

    • More specifically they are loaded at Center, so they have potential Dubois replacement assets to move (assets I would deem as seemingly more valuable than say Chytil).

  • From what I have read allegedly they asked Carolina for Pesce and Necas and Carolina said no.*just a rumor) That tells us they will trade consider trading him in the division. ADA and Chytil may work. They may want a little more since Pesce’s contract has more term at a valuable rate. Tough package to give up, but he’s young and fits a big need. That would push Strome down to 3C for the time being.

    You raise a good point about fitting Zbad in long term. This thought is meant to be exploratory, but what would the return for Mika look like if they traded him? I’ll let everyone use their own imagination on what that return would look like, but one would imagine it would be comparable to what we give up to get Dubois. If Dubois is in the fold and his next deal is expected to come in around $6.5 mill on a longer term deal does it make business sense to sign a 29 year old to a 7 or 8 year around $11 million a year deal? When you have younger talent to manage? I personally think Dubois’s next contract will be higher than $6.5 mill per, but only time will tell.

    • One other thought on Columbus and other small market teams(Thinking Winnipeg too) in general, they seem to have some issue retaining some free agents. I believe it’s more an issue of location than a problem with the team. Smaller stage, quieter living. it doesn’t appeal to everyone. I have to imagine if Columbus is going to pull the trigger on trading Dubois they need certainties the players they acquire will sign on and stay long term. I raise this point because I am not sure I see ADA(for example) being a guy who would covet living in Columbus. They may also take what appears like a lesser return on paper if they know they can retain the players longer term. This is a tricky situation.

  • Unlike everyone else, I do not view Kakko as untouchable. Unquestionably, Kakko (a) has really high trade value (b) “appears” to have a very bright future, and (c) truly sucked last year (and yes that includes the playoffs when he was oblivious to his teammates and never passed).

    Management should assess the situation carefully. If you have a player who everyone thinks will be a future all-star and you are inclined to believe he won’t be, you should trade him when his value is high.

    The reason teams typically don’t trade prospects is because they really like their prospects. The Rangers really liked Kravtsov and they took him when most teams would not have spent that particular draft pick on him. Kakko and Lafreniere are different. They are players that every single team (or virtually every) would have taken in the same draft position. There is no reason whatsoever to think that the Rangers are higher on them – or even as high – as some other teams.

    Mind you, I don’t trade Lafreniere. Too many #1 overalls end up in the HOF and having traded a future HOFer is an embarrassment to the organization in the long run.

    That also doesn’t mean trade Kakko. I don’t know how good he will be and it may be that Davidson, Gorton, Quinn really really like him. But if they don’t, they should not be afraid to pull the trigger on the right deal.

    • I’m telling you, Give Kakko time. Barlow sucked too his first season. Coming from Finland to North America, hockey styles and rink sizes are completely different. It’s a huge adjustment. That’s why they’re called rookies, because it’s their first real season in the NHL. rookies stats hardly ever reflect how their career stats will look. If you’ve truly paid attention and watched enough film on Kakko, than you know how gifted, skilled and exciting a player he is. The potential is there, he just needs to adjust and he’ll be a star

        • Jzap, Ray is on to something. It’s not just the adjustments you mention with Kakko. His success in Finland was based mostly on making often amazing one on one plays. He will not be able to do that here. He was arguably the worst player in the NHL last season, as noted in one of the metrics often used. He had almost no chemistry with anyone he played with and he didn’t make any of his linemates better. He needs to retool his game more than almost anyone I can remember. I am certainly not giving up on him, he has a unique skill set and should figure it out, but it’s worth noting that he has unique challenges to make it here and its possible his game will not translate here as much as we were led to believe.

    • If it were Kakko straight up, I’d do. PLD isn’t bad defensively. And David Savard wasn’t his line mate, the guys a defenseman! PLD was a 3rd overall. Kakko 2nd. PLD has more goals (less points) than Barzal in the exact same number of games played, and he’s a year younger. Fans need to realize you have to give to get, and stop over valuing your teams players. Center is more valuable than a left shot RW ( we still have Buch and Kravtsov). I agree that’s not likely we see an inter division trade, but it’s possible. From Columbus side, they might be better off trading for DeAngelo. Their PP was near bottom of league. Heck, their goal scoring in general was at bottom.

      • Amen. It seems to me that we would not consider trading our Kakko for somebody else’s Lafreniere and we would not consider trading our Lafreniere for someone else’s Kakko.

        These guys are valuable assets, but they are not of infinite value to us.

  • In all your future cap concerns, you always leave out Igor Shesterkin. He will already be an arbitration eligible RFA at the end of this season.

    And there are offer sheets. If a team offers him $8M, the compensation is only a first, second, and third – essentially nothing for a player of his caliber.

  • The Jackets have 2 excellent defensive man already.If we can trade Chytil or Kravtsov plus maybe a future #1 and 2 lower prospects that’s it.I wouldn’t trade both of them together in 1 trade.At this trade deadline you might see Buch and D’angelo available for the right price, depending on our position in the standings.

  • I would do it for a 2021 1st rounder, Chytil, Kravtsov, Nils Lundqvist and Brett Howden. I honestly think that’s a good trade for both sides. But no way do we part with Kakko or Laf. They have arguably as much If not more potential than Dubois does

  • I would do Chytil and ADA/Nils ( CBJ choice ) for PLD in a second. We are loaded at RD and PLD is a low end 1C / high end 2C today who should get better. A trade like that is a no brained for us which is why it probably won’t happen.

    • Strome, not Chytil, it doesn’t have any sence, since Chytil upside is very high… and not Nils, it would be immediate overpay

      • Strome would be a throw-in in any potential deal. Not a headliner. The league has made it clear that is his value.

  • PLD already a $5 mil cap hit. I cant see that as cost controlled for a 22yr old center who recorded 49pts in 70 games last season. In addition I question if he fits into a hard to play against player. IMO he is not what DQ, JG and JD relooking for, and especially for what the asking price will be. I have no crystal ball but I would like to see the Strome, Bread, Kako line for 20 uninterrupted games before entertaining thoughts on trading any of the 2. Just sayin’ we should keep our powder dry a bit.

  • Columbus should be calling us.

    Trading #72 who has still not shown his full potential and has had glimpses of cra cra good, with another youngster is just dumb at this time.

  • What says we need to get this guy let’s see what he does maybe it’s time for him to grow up who knows Strom can have an 80 point season you talking about giving up a whole lot and bringing a whole lot of salary here I’m not sure that’s going to be worth it and I don’t see giving up Mika for this kid

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