It’s Going to be Exciting Watching Pierre-Luc Dubois
Pierre-Luc Dubois is the one of the new exciting players Columbus around the NHL.
In the nearly two decades of Blue Jackets hockey inside of Central Ohio, one of the prime positions to elude the franchise has been a top-flight center.
(No, I’m not forgetting the handful of seasons and promising potential that Ryan Johansen brought to the club. Thank you Jarmo for Seth Jones).
Welcome to the Show
Rookie sensation Pierre-Luc Dubois emerged in a big way last season for Columbus. Taking over as the No. 1 center early early in the year for John Tortorella and the Blue Jackets, Dubois first had to make the team out of training camp. But he impressed and made strides in a hurry. From just trying to crack the startling lineup, Dubois flourished all season long, his season culminating in passing Rick Nash for the franchise-rookie scoring mark, and shining as a legitimate Calder Memorial candidate.
Due to also-extradoinary seasons by winner Mathew Barzal, and finalists Brock Boeser, and Clayton Keller, Dubois wasn’t among the final thee up for the award, but that doesn’t sway from his storybook season.
Last September, I had this to say about Dubois:
“Pierre-Luc Dubois, the third overall pick from 2016, looks to make the team out of camp, eyeing the third-line center spot. Having gone through training camp a year ago, he has the mental perspective of what to expect. Dubois spent 2016 playing with Cape Breton and Blainville-Boisbriand of the QMJHL. While he put up 55 points between both teams, his focus, as advised by Blue Jackets coaches, was to continue learning the center position.
Dubois has caught the eye of Cleveland Monsters coach John Madden, saying among the group of prospects, Dubois is ”the most consistent player.” As Madden further alluded, “Maybe he hasn’t put up the numbers somebody else has, but his body of work in terms of the full 200-foot game is right on par.”
He’s Got Balls
It’s quite the story how well the then-19-year-old shined in his first NHL season. In not just thriving to the tune of 20 goals (seventh among rookies — not to mention his first career hat trick at the Flames), 28 assists (eighth), 48 points (eighth) in all 82 games, he did so while standing up to the top two-way centers across the entire league on a nightly basis.
While going toe-to-toe against the best each and every night, Dubois earned the admiration of Tortorella (hint: see video inside) while providing a potential glimpse of what is still to come from the top center-line position.
Starting his NHL career on the third line as a left wing, it only took 12 games before sliding into the prime No. 1 spot, and between gifted talents including Artemi Panarin, Cam Atkinson, Alexander Wennberg, and Josh Anderson.
With and Without Dubois
|Player 1||Player 2||Player 3||Player 4||Player 5||GP||TOI||CF||CA||CF%||FF||FA||FF%||SF||SA||SF%||GF||GA||GF%||SCF||SCA||SCF%||HDCF||HDCA||HDCF%||HDGF||HDGA||HDGF%||On-Ice SH%||On-Ice SV%||PDO||Off. Zone Faceoffs||Neu. Zone Faceoffs||Def. Zone Faceoffs||Off. Zone Faceoff %|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||65||320:48||370||292||55.89||276||218||55.87||194||173||52.86||17||9||65.38||192||142||57.49||72||62||53.73||12||5||70.59||8.76||94.8||1.036||142||149||66||68.27|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||Josh Anderson||62||372:55||462||324||58.78||352||230||60.48||249||183||57.64||15||12||55.56||209||180||53.73||80||66||54.79||9||7||56.25||6.02||93.44||0.995||174||165||70||71.31|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||81||95:94||94||93||50.27||74||68||52.11||53||54||49.53||4||3||57.14||50||49||50.51||16||22||42.11||1||2||33.33||7.55||94.44||1.02||25||20||21||54.35|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||w/o Artemi Panarin||Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||65||25:49||22||25||46.81||15||20||42.86||10||17||37.04||0||2||0||11||12||47.83||3||5||37.5||0||1||0||0||88.24||0.882||3||2||11||21.43|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||w/o Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||66||13:42||16||12||57.14||13||11||54.17||10||8||55.56||0||0||-||9||5||64.29||2||3||40||0||0||-||0||100||1||6||6||2||75|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||w/o Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||Josh Anderson||63||107:19||97||88||52.43||76||65||53.9||60||46||56.6||4||4||50||48||36||57.14||23||11||67.65||3||2||60||6.67||91.3||0.98||38||33||19||66.67|
|Pierre-Luc Dubois||w/o Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||82||202:36||200||172||53.76||160||135||54.24||127||104||54.98||8||12||40||99||84||54.1||41||39||51.25||3||8||27.27||6.3||88.46||0.948||67||62||55||54.92|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||Cam Atkinson||Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||57||137:27||174||114||60.42||130||88||59.63||98||69||58.68||7||6||53.85||74||59||55.64||31||25||55.36||4||3||57.14||7.14||91.3||0.984||65||53||30||68.42|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||65||89:01||87||80||52.1||68||55||55.28||57||41||58.16||7||1||87.5||33||42||44||17||15||53.13||3||1||75||12.28||97.56||1.098||14||27||24||36.84|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||Alexander Wennberg||Josh Anderson||48||18:22||18||18||50||13||14||48.15||12||10||54.55||1||1||50||7||9||43.75||2||3||40||0||1||0||8.33||90||0.983||1||1||3||25|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||66||77:43||69||53||56.56||52||39||57.14||36||31||53.73||4||1||80||35||30||53.85||12||16||42.86||4||1||80||11.11||96.77||1.079||22||26||9||70.97|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||Josh Anderson||62||99:07||118||84||58.42||90||68||56.96||66||51||56.41||5||3||62.5||52||41||55.91||21||14||60||2||2||50||7.58||94.12||1.017||36||20||30||54.55|
|w/o Pierre-Luc Dubois||Artemi Panarin||w/o Cam Atkinson||w/o Alexander Wennberg||w/o Josh Anderson||81||81:34||85||83||50.6||61||65||48.41||38||46||45.24||0||1||0||41||47||46.59||14||19||42.42||0||1||0||0||97.83||0.978||11||4||25||30.56|
In the postseason against the Capitals, Dubois continued his presence, registering four points (two goals, two assists) in the six games.
What does the 20-year-old have for an encore?
Hopefully the robust rookie is able to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. As Ryan Real mentioned yesterday, even notable centers including Auston Matthews, Jeff Skinner, and Nathan MacKinnon saw production slip in their sophomore years, with Matthews and Skinner dealing with injury. One of the areas Dubois can surely improve in is taking the face-off, where he was just 43.2% (393 wins, 517 losses) among 5-on-5.
Among the top forwards for Columbus all of last season, I sure am excited to see how the kid does in year two.