When the NHL Network tweeted out their Top 20 Centers in the NHL, Blue Jackets fans might have seen it as a slight against Pierre-Luc Dubois because he was not among the players chosen, but he isn't there...yet.
In his first season with the Blue Jackets, Dubois solidified the club's first line by stepping in as the center (after starting as a fourth-line wing) and put up a respectable 48 points, then in his second season, he built on that success.
When the team went looking for a top six center and brought in Matt Duchene at the 2019 trade deadline, it could have spelled the end for Dubois on the first line, but for most of Duchene's time in Columbus, it was Dubois on the first line and Duchene on the second line – not the other way around. At the same time, Dubois increased his point total from 48 to 61 and showed he can score goals on a consistent basis.
Now, with Duchene in Nashville and with Artemi Panarin in New York, Dubois will be relied upon to produce more offense to help offset those losses, while having virtually no competition for the top center role.
Additionally, with the exception of Elias Pettersson, who burst onto the scene with the Canucks this season and put up five more points than Dubois in 11 fewer games, the youngest players on the list are Sebastian Aho and Brayden Point – who both finished their third season in the NHL and increased their point totals from the mid-60s to the 80s and 90s, respectively. That's tough to beat.
If Dubois is able to rise to the challenge in his third season, produce in the range of 70-80 points and play solid defensive hockey, he would have a strong snub case if he wasn't included in the Top 20 Centers of 2020.