International Ice Hockey Federation

Dubois ready for Columbus

Dubois ready for Columbus

Blue Jackets prospect hoping to land roster spot

Published 15.08.2018 01:05 GMT-4 | Author Dhiren Mahiban
Dubois ready for Columbus
Pierre-Luc Dubois won World Juniors silver with Canada last winter in Montreal. Photo: Andre Ringuette / HHOF-IIHF Images
Suiting up for Canada at the World Juniors was a lifelong dream for Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Suiting up for Canada at the World Juniors was a lifelong dream for Pierre-Luc Dubois, but the experience admittedly turned into a nightmare when the Canadians lost to the Americans in a shootout in the gold medal game.

Dubois, who had won gold with Canada at the 2015 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament, registered five assists for the Canadians at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship.

“The World Juniors was one of the dreams of mine, it was fun, but when you lose in the shootout in the final game, you kind of want to forget about it,” Dubois said on Friday at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

The 19-year-old Columbus Blue Jackets prospect is at the summer showcase in Plymouth trying to shake off the mid-summer rust, and as much as he’d like to suit up with Canada at the next World Juniors in Buffalo to erase last year’s disappointment, Dubois’ focus is on earning a roster spot in Columbus.

“I think it’s a win-win,” Dubois said of the options ahead of him. “The decision is really not up to me. If I make the team in Columbus I’m happy, if they decide to keep me for World Juniors, and I stay in Columbus, I’m happy, I’m helping the team win and everything.

“If they decide to send me down, I shift my focus to Hockey Canada. Whatever they decide, I’ll be happy with it.”

The 6-foot-3, 202-pound forward scored 21 goals and 55 points in 48 games split between the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada during his third season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Dubois also experienced his first trade going from the Screaming Eagles to the Armada mid-season, a trade he feels aided his game.

“I think it was a good time. I had a good time in Cape Breton, I loved playing there, but I wanted to go play for a team that was maybe pushing a little bit more to make it far in the playoffs,” Dubois said of the move. “Cape Breton had a great team, but I think they wanted to go more younger.

“To go to a new team, new systems, new everything (was good). I think we play a more defensive game (in Blainville-Boisbriand) so maybe it helped my play without the puck – being centre that’s really important. I think I benefitted from it.”

In June Dubois completed his second development camp with the Blue Jackets and was admittedly more comfortable in his surroundings in Columbus. Next month the Ste. Agathe-des-Mont, Quebec native will attend his second NHL training camp and his hopeful of a different outcome.

“I want to go there this year and make the team like last year, but I think now knowing all the staff, knowing all the players, I’m not nervous anymore,” said Dubois. “Last year, I wanted to prove I can play the 200-foot game a little too much, played too safe, whereas this year I want to go there and have fun, play my game, play how I usually play.

“I’m ready, I’m really excited, I think I’m ready for it, we’ll see what happens at camp.”

The third overall selection of the Blue Jackets at the 2016 NHL Draft has also had plenty of time to familiarize himself with both the city of Columbus and the football culture in Ohio.

“I love the city. I’ve been there two months last year, a month again this year, it’s a really nice city, a city I didn’t know before I got drafted, but it’s really nice, a couple guys have shown me around the city and I’m really excited to go back,” Dubois said. “I love football. Growing up with half an American family, football was big for them. I went last year to an Ohio State game, it was a really fun thing, hundred thousand people is something you don’t see a lot.”

Dubois will head to Columbus next month with a different approach as he looks to secure a roster spot.

“Obviously getting older you get stronger, get bigger, get faster, but I think one of the big things that hurt me last year is I wasn’t myself at camp,” he said. “It was my first time there so I wanted to prove something. I was playing a game that I don’t usually play. This year, I’m not going to do the same mistake twice. I’m excited to get there and hopefully I can make the team this year.”


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