When the news arrived before the season began that center Pierre-Luc DuBois wanted out of Columbus, the Blue Jackets presented themselves as disheveled, but dissatisfied, insisting that they go about their business in 2018-19 I would handle the same way when they knew the whole world that Artemi Panarin and Sergey Bobrovsky intended to leave.
It did not work that way. The Blue Jackets have just one win through five games, a short start that is spoiled by bad weather and inter-division in every game. Dubois has just one point in five games, and is hardly the worst. He has been visually displaced on the ice, with head coach John Torterella reaching his boiling point after the loss on Thursday. DuBois did not see the snow overnight.
Greater implication aside, Tortella was right to bench Dubois. It is a purposefully sinister “effort” and is also not about accountability or setting precedent. Tortella needed to ice a lineup that would optimize his team’s game-winning chances and he could not afford more damaging changes from a center.
It is also not to celebrate or even necessarily DuBois’ on-ice melancholy. Regardless of what is going on between them and the management, their poor performance has led to collateral damage. It hurts their teammates and it is unfortunate for fans.
DuBois is cynical and unspecified to deal with the situation. It is also really the only available avenue to influence its fate.
Teams unilaterally have draft players as 17- or 18-year-olds and then more or less have total control over that player for the next eight years until they become unrestricted free agents. The 22-year-old DuBois is one of the most capable and desirable players in the world. Yet when he was out of contract this summer, he had little leverage in negotiating with the Blue Jackets, let alone looking for other opportunities.
Columbus would have a chance to contract DuBois with another team with any contract and ink him under those exact words. If they refused and left the match, the signing team would be owed draft pick compensation. To leave Columbus would require another team to offer him a contract that he believed was worth the loss he and the draft pick, but also enough that Columbus would not match it. This is a hard needle to thread. Only two offer letters have been signed in the past decade, both of which have been matched by the team with their rights. Dustin Penner’s departure from Anaheim to Edmonton in 2007 is the only time in the salary cap era when a player switched teams with offer letters. Difficult logistics means that teams rarely bother.
DuBois also had no arbitration rights, which effectively meant that he was to behold whatever Columbus was willing to present to him. His only advantage was to refuse to sign the deal, making himself unavailable for the start of the season and demanding a trade. That was certainly not ideal for Columbus, he would be out of sight and they would still have a unilateral advantage over the situation. They would still hold their rights through 2024 and they could wait as long as they wanted to transfer it. when it will be? Columbus general manager Jermao Kekalanin was reportedly more than happy to take his time with that case.
Therefore, DuBois has taken the path of least resistance, having to sign a two-year contract, show up for the season and force the issue through the clutter. He has an obligation on the ice that his head coach benched him. Tortella and other players are forced to answer almost daily questions about the situation at this point. The organization has local and national media attention for all the wrong reasons. It has become a distraction, and one that Aaron Portzline of Athletic Now understood “Unstoppable, Unsupportable.” The longer it is, the bigger the problem it becomes.
The situation is ugly but it is not DuBois’ fault. If you’re a Columbus fan or teammate who’s upset about how this applies, blame a system that cost DuBois little room to make his own decisions in employment.
That a player like Dubose has little benefit for the most valuable part of his hockey career is a deliberate design by hockey owners to keep salaries down and reduce competition. To some extent, they also blame the players’ union, which voluntarily signed the CBA. A $ 10M contract for two years would not even come close to cutting it for DuBois in a real free market. The mechanism to artificially and severely limit the player’s leverage is what allows Columbus to sign well below his true value.
No one is asking you to feel bad for DuBois. If their biggest complaint is that they are being given a $ 10M salary to eat, travel and sleep with first-class housing, then they are lucky enough to live alone under 99 percent of the world’s population under normal circumstances. Epidemic – Growing Recession.
One can still recognize that the Battle of DuBois is still beneficial for a greater cause. Leaving classes that work against each other is quite a useful tool for the uber-rich, and when millionaire hockey players are not exactly 1900-minute coal miners, the falling tide lowers all boats. The league’s top players are the anchoring points by which all players are compared. If a player like DuBois succumbs to successfully accepting the HetTaver situations, what chance does he have to give away players – all the way to minor jumps – to negotiate his price and have some control over his career Is sticking his neck out. The It only benefits beneficial ownership.
Say what you would say about DuBois’ works, but he worked. The Blue Jackets, who a few days ago were ready to squander their time in search of their intended deal, quickly reconsidered and DuBois appears on the verge of giving his business request. NHL owners fought tooth and nail for a system that gives an agency like DuBois and dares them to break away from the hockey culture that becomes a problem and furthers the team’s needs. DuBois called out his bluff. If they don’t like it, NHL franchises are free to loosen grip on the control of young players and provide them with a more traditional means of determining the conditions of their employment.