Smart Money: Pierre-Luc Dubois Is Due To Start Scoring Goals Again

By Dan Dukart on December 14, 2018 at 3:47 pm
Pierre-Luc Dubois looks to move the puck in The Blue Jackets 9-6 loss to the Calgary Flames
Russell LaBounty – USA TODAY Sports
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Pierre-Luc Dubois is officially snake-bitten. 

Dubois started the season like he was allergic to a sophomore slump. In his 11-game October, he posted 4-4-8. In November, he bested that with 8-8-16 in just 14 games. But since then, he's cooled. He's currently mired in a season-high five-game goal scoring drought. 

Perhaps no other instance reminds us that he's stuck in a slump more than Dubois' glorious chance to extend the Blue Jackets' lead over the Los Angeles Kings to 3-1. Even John Tortorella admitted that his mind wandered after his power forward missed a mostly-empty net (though he made an excellent move to even get to this point).

“We’re just a little bit scarred... When 'Luc' hit the crossbar, I’m saying ‘Now what’s going to happen?’ I just think we stayed with it.”

It wasn't his only chance to score. Earlier in the first period, Artemi Panarin made a ridiculous pass on a 2-on-1 with Dubois, but hit a desperate Jonathan Quick square in the pad. And to be fair, Quick's outrageous athleticism allowed him to make the save, which most goalies could only dream of making. 

But despite his recent 'struggles', Blue Jackets fans have plenty of room for optimism with young Dubois.

If a "slump" means scoring 0-2-2 in five games, so be it. He's still generating chances for himself and his line mates, as evidenced by his slick pass to Panarin that gave the Blue Jackets a 2-1 lead. The goal stood as the game-winner.

Dubois will be the first to admit he's benefited from playing with Panarin and Cam Atkinson, who are among the league leaders in points with 34 apiece. Even so, with 27 points in 34 games, Dubois is on pace for a 71-point season, which obliterates his rookie total of 48. In fact, Dubois would have to basically go ice-cold for the remainder of the season to not improve upon his rookie year output.

The underlying numbers support the idea that Dubois should continue on his path. His 439 Corsi For attempts (Blue Jackets 5-on-5 shot attempts for while he's on the ice) this year rank second among Blue Jackets forwards behind only Panarin. Even during his current five-game slide, his CF% of 51.35% and High-Danger Chances For % of 56.67% far exceeds his 41.67% (actual) Goals For %. 

Dubois said it best: "It’s a good sign, actually, that I’m getting chances." The 20-year-old is wise beyond his years.

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