Raise your hand if you saw THAT coming from Pierre-Luc Dubois this season.
Now, unless you are PLD’s parents, put your hands down because you’re a lying liar.
Pierre-Luc Dubois came to Columbus from the QMJHL this past preseason. He played well, but not outstanding, in training camp. The prevailing theory among the fanbase was that he was going to stay in Columbus for 9 games and then get sent back down to junior hockey to further develop his game. Dubois started on the fourth line wing and posted one point in his first nine games - a goal scored on opening night. He then began to struggle to adapt to the NHL game, with the low point coming in the October 27 home victory over the Winnipeg Jets as he played just 4:17, registering eight shifts, one hit, and zero shot attempts. After he went scoreless for eleven of his first twelve games, John Tortorella moved Dubois to center in an attempt to get his young player going.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Dubois took flight for the rest of the campaign, registering 19 goals, 28 assists, and 47 points the rest of the way as he played all 82 games for the Columbus Blue Jackets. He averaged 16:38 per game for the season for the Blue Jackets, notched four game winning goals, and put up an outstanding 56.0% CF%. All that in his first season in the NHL.
The 20 goals and 48 points Dubois put up during his rookie campaign both set franchise records. His point record wiped out the record set just last season by Zach Werenski, while his goals scored wiped Rick Nash from the record books.
Dubois ended the season playing next to the Bread Man, Artemi Panarin, where helped to form a dangerous top line for the Blue Jackets down the stretch. Playing between Panarin and Atkinson, Dubois scored 6-11-17 in 19 games after the trade deadline as the Blue Jackets went on a strong winning streak to make the playoffs. Once in the playoffs, he put up 2-2-4 as the Blue Jackets fell in 6 games to the Washington Capitals, upping his time on ice to 23:09 per game.
Dubois had a great rookie season, developing more than any fan could have expected. If he can continue to develop and play well in the middle of the ice, the Blue Jackets may have found their franchise center. He could be a force on a top line for years to come. The sky is the limit for Dubois - it is up to him to reach it, and for the coaching staff to help him get there.
Pierre-Luc Dubois 2017-18 Stats
Games played: 82
Time on ice: 16:38
Penalty Minutes: 49
Corsi For (even strength): 56.0%
Dubois broke the rookie points and goal scoring records in the same game, game 78 as the Blue Jackets won in Calgary. Dubois scored his first career hat trick, playing 20:46 and notching the game winning goal as the Jackets inched closer to the playoffs.
The low point for Dubois’ season would be the aforementioned Winnipeg game early in the season. He had struggled to adapt to the NHL game, playing on the wing was taking him out of position. He played just 4:17 amidst struggling to get back on the scoresheet.
Thankfully, Dubois did not let that game define his season, and his subsequent move to center allowed him to blossom in a role that not only suited him but helped to fill a critical need for the Columbus Blue Jackets.
How would you grade Pierre-Luc Dubois’ 2017-18 season?
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