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BLUE JACKETS GM WOULD HAVE NABBED LAINE AT 2016 DRAFT; SAYS TRADE 'NOT BITTER-SWEET'

Three ongoing NHL sagas ended abruptly Saturday when disgruntled Columbus Blue Jackets centre Pierre-Luc Dubois was traded to the Winnipeg Jets for equally disgruntled forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Dubois had made it clear at the beginning of the season that he wanted out of Columbus. Laine had been involved in trade rumours for a couple of years, seemingly unhappy in Winnipeg, while Roslovic had refused to show up for the Jets' training camp. All now have new homes and new beginnings. Jarmo Kekäläinen, general manager of the Columbus Blue Jackets, was asked if the trade was bitter-sweet for him given how things played out with Dubois, his 3rd overall draft pick in 2016.

"Not bitter-sweet at all," Kekäläinen responded. "We're really excited here. I can tell you right from the draft (in 2016), we would have given a lot to move up from three to two at that time and we're very excited to have Patrik Laine join us, and there's a price to be paid for an elite player like he is."

The 2016 draft saw Toronto take Auston Matthews 1st overall, Laine was nabbed 2nd by Winnipeg and Dubois 3rd by Columbus. Now Laine and Dubois are swapping teams in an ironic twist. But, Kekäläinen insisted this trade wasn't just about Laine and Dubois.

"I think Jack Roslovic is going to be a huge part of this whole trade," Kekäläinen added. "He's a guy that we wanted to draft. Couldn't get it done. Obviously, there's other teams that have their turn too, and we couldn't get him."

Roslovic, 23, was taken 25th overall by Winnipeg in 2015, the year before Laine and Dubois.

"Every time we've had trade talks with Winnipeg, I've asked 'em about Jack Roslovic. He's a hometown boy and we think he can play centre in the National Hockey League. He's got tremendous speed and skill and hockey sense, so we're very excited to have both of those players join the Blue Jackets."

Roslovic was board and raised in Columbus, Ohio.

Dubois' ending in Columbus was not great, to say the least. His last game with the team saw him being benched for the entire 2nd and 3rd periods as well as overtime in a heated feud with head coach John Tortorella. We'll have to wait and see how his relationship with Winnipeg's Paul Maurice turns out.



TIM TUCKER
JANUARY 23, 2021  (13H30)
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