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The Cannon Top 25 Under 25 - #9 Pierre-Luc Dubois

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All Dubois has to do is shine, make a push for the big club, develop quickly into a number one center, stop taking so many penalties, and fix the franchise’s playmaker issues. No pressure!

NHL: NHL Draft Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve come to him at last- the most recent first round draft pick, Pierre-Luc Dubois. Whatever we may have thought of the pick (or still think of the decision), Dubois is a Blue Jackets prospect now. And it’s time to take stock of where he is, and what he can be- this season and beyond.

We all know the story- ranked the number one North American skater ahead of the draft, he was converted to center midway through last season’s campaign, and he took off as a player. He believes, as do the front office, that he will be able to continue his development and eventually become the playmaking number one center the franchise so desperately needs.

After a breakout season in which he registered 42 goals, 57 assists, and 99 points, Dubois will (because of the AHL’s age limit) return to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League this season. Frankly, he would be better served in spending the season in the AHL, but that’s not allowed yet. He is eligible to play a handful of games for the Blue Jackets, and I would not be shocked if he did so.

As noted by the Dispatch months ago- Dubois is here, and that’s on management, not the prospect. Let’s appreciate him and wish him the best going forward. We’re going to need him to develop into the best he can possibly be.

Outlook for 2016-17

Dubois will return to the QMJHL this season, where his focus will be on developing and learning the nuances of the center position, and cutting down on his poor habit of taking too many penalties. He believes he can be a two-way forward, a la Jamie Benn. Here’s hoping he can do it.