Pierre-Luc Dubois is slated to stay in Winnipeg.
For now, that is.
The young centre did little to quell the chatter around his future with the Winnipeg Jets on Friday evening, accepting his qualifying offer to remain under contract with the team for the 2022-23 season at an average annual value of $6 million.
Dubois' desire to play for the Montreal Canadiens has been well documented throughout the offseason, even being stated explicitly by his agent in the days following the 2022 NHL draft. By accepting his qualifying offer, Dubois now makes himself a far easier asset to trade, as his contract status is now settled for the coming season and the possibility of the Canadiens needing to engage in an arbitration hearing with him no longer on the table.
At $6 million, Dubois is a decently-priced asset, too.
The 24-year-old is a bonafide top-six centre, coming off a season in which he looked far more engaged on the ice and produced a respectable stat line of 28 goals and 32 assists for 60 points in 80 games while logging nearly 19 minutes in ice time per night.
Dubois' penchant for taking penalties is a somewhat concerning development, as he came close to doubling his previous career-high in 2021-22 by serving 106 PIMs to lead the Jets by a wide margin. But the former top-three pick is still an effective young forward with a size and skill combination that most GMs look for when building their forward corps.
For the Jets, they retain control over a player they paid a massive price to acquire less than two years ago and continue to hold all the cards as they enter the final two years of Dubois' restricted free agent status.
This saga is not yet over. But it could be coming to an end soon.