Another season, another curveball for the Blue Jackets.
John Davidson said it years ago that curveballs would be a regular occurrence, but it's unlikely that even he would have foreseen this. Pierre-Luc Dubois, as you know by now, wants to be traded. It's a tough blow for a franchise that's invested so much in developing him into a No. 1 center, which he's on the cusp of becoming.
Now it appears his time in Columbus is winding down.
Speaking with 97.1 The Fan's Rothman and Ice program on Wednesday afternoon, Tortorella said Dubois spoke with this teammates prior to the start of the 2020-21 season. Even after that discussion, it was unclear why he wants to be dealt.
"He wants out," Tortorella said. "(Dubois) hasn't given a reason why he wants to leave. He should get in front of it. That's the way I think you should go about your business, and be the best team you can be."
It's a situation the Blue Jackets are, unfortunately, quite familiar with. Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky made it known they were headed elsewhere before the 2018-19 season, but GM Jarmo Kekalainen kept them around to make a run that saw them knock off the Tampa Bay Lightning in a four-game sweep.
They dealt with that in the open, Tortorella has said, with honesty among the players and an understanding that everyone has to be pulling on the rope together as long as they're here. With Dubois, it seems a bit more delicate; the players and coaches don't seem to know why Dubois has has sights set elsewhere, and though he's had a strong training camp (in the words of Tortorella), this will be a cloud that lingers the longer he's in Columbus.