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CHEVELDAYOFF AND MAURICE OPEN UP ON LAINE, SHARE THOUGHTS ON DUBOIS' PERCEIVED WORK ETHIC

Winnipeg Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff believes he's found his man in Pierre-Luc Dubois following a trade negotiation that he claims had been in the works since the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, but really came together between Friday and Saturday.

Cheveldayoff called the bidding war for Dubois "fast and furious", and now that he's a Jet, Cheveldayoff is thrilled. He said he likes what Dubois brings to the team and hopes that he is a long-term piece in Winnipeg.

It's no secret that Dubois wanted out of Columbus in a bad way, culminating in an embarrassing performance against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Thursday, where it looked like Dubois couldn't have been bothered to put in even the smallest amount of effort or played with any urgency at all. Cheveldayoff said that he could not even pretend to know what the full extend of the issues in Columbus were, but wanted to stress that anyone who tries to characterize Dubois as a lazy or selfish player need only look at his performance during the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"The clips people should watch are the ones from his playoff performance last year," Cheveldayoff said, in reference to Dubois' 10 points in 10 games for the Blue Jackets in the Toronto bubble.

Cheveldayoff praised Dubois' ability to drive play, adding that the Jets now have incredible center depth with the addition of Dubois, who is just entering his prime - and that this kind of depth up the middle is something that all successful teams have, acknowledging that the Jets don't get that without trading Laine.

When it comes to Laine, Cheveldayoff claims that the organization gave Laine every opportunity to succeed, but that the opportunity provided and the opportunities desired just did not line up.

The biggest issue for Laine seemed to be his preconceived notion that a player drafted as high as he was, possessing the elite shooting abilities that he possesses, should be playing on his team's top line, with the team's best players. Cheveldayoff suggested on Saturday that although Laine had received several looks on Scheifele's line, the analytics just didn't allow him to remain there.

Suffice it to say, sometimes the fit just isn't right, and that fact is something that never seemed to sit well with Laine, which necessitated Saturday's deal with the Blue Jackets to bring in Dubois.

Cheveldayoff says that he has requested that the league and the province of Manitoba grant Dubois an exemption that would allow him to cut his quarantine in half, which would allow him to join the team within 7 days, as opposed to the standard 14-day quarantine. The Jets GM is also working on getting Dubois on a private flight to Winnipeg.



Jets head coach Paul Maurice also spoke on Saturday, conceding that the Jets have given up an elite shooter who has the potential to also grow into one of the league's best power forwards in Patrik Laine, but the coach echoed a lot of the same sentiments about Dubois as his GM, pointing out that Dubois is a big point producer in his own right, who drives play extremely well.



He, like Cheveldayoff, is being careful in how he looks at Dubois' well-documented lazy play in Columbus this season, refusing to buy into the character assassinations being directed at the young center, noting that he has no insight as to what PLD may have been dealing with as a member of the Blue Jackets.

Though the obvious choice would be to utilize all of Scheifele, Dubois, Stastny and Lowry at center, Maurice did flirt with the idea of moving Stastny to the wing. Of course, he will refrain from making such a decision until Dubois is on the ice with the Jets, presumably in the coming weeks.

MIKE ARMENTI
JANUARY 23, 2021  (14H10)
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