Could Pierre-Luc Dubois be a Target for Flyers?

Apr 18, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) awaits a face off against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 18, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Winnipeg Jets left wing Pierre-Luc Dubois (80) awaits a face off against the Vegas Golden Knights during the second period of game one of the first round of the 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports /

Being a sports fan can be tough. One of the hardest things is when your favorite team gets rid of your favorite player. We all have had that experience. Last year, Flyers fans felt it pretty hard when Claude Giroux was traded away; although the emergence of Owen Tippett is making that more palatable. For some of us, it may have been Wayne Simmonds, Eric Lindros, Rod Brind’Amour, Mark Recchi, or Tim Kerr.

For Winnipeg fans, this is a rough time. They got bounced pretty badly in the first round of the playoffs and then their team fell apart. The coach claimed the players quit on him and the team. The players talked about the bad culture on the team. For other hockey teams, this is a sign that a fire sale could be coming.

Several players from Winnipeg could be up for grabs and the Flyers might some great trade partners (Kevin Hayes, Ivan Provorov, Tony DeAngelo?). And according to an article on Bleacher Report, one of the players that could be purged from the Jets is Pierre-Luc Dubois.

Could he end up a Flyer? He is a restricted free agent on the last year of his deal, currently making $3.5 million. The 24 year old has scored 20+ goals in four of his six seasons (one of the ones he didn’t was the COVID year…more on that later). He’s a talented star that the Flyers could use on the left wing. The 2016 third overall pick would be a great addition.


He has a history with Flyers head coach John Tortorella. Two years ago, the COVID season, Dubois made it clear that he wanted off of the Columbus Blue Jackets of which Tortorella was then coaching. While other players had asked for trade demands, most notably Artemi Panarin and Sergei Bobrovsky, Tortorella was able to get them to play hard for CBJ and to temper their demands. He was unable to do the same with Dubois.

Dubois and Tortorella began to publicly feud, with Torts benching his disgruntled player several times during the season, including near the trade deadline. For Flyers fans, we’ve seen this before with DeAngelo and with Hayes.  Tortorella went so far as to say:

"“Have Luc and I had conflict? (Expletive) right we’ve had conflict,” If someone doesn’t want to be here, that’s a hard thing for me to stomach, quite honestly. …I’ll tell you this, I do think the athletes (nowadays), it’s a softer athlete. And the benching, I’d do it again.”"

He also said:

"“It’s very difficult to me when a guy doesn’t want to be here at such a young age and the amount of time we’ve poured into him to try to develop him and is just looking to go. It’s hard for me. I’m not sure where it goes with me as the season gets going, I’ll be quite honest with you, because I want to spend my time developing the people that want to be here, but I still have to coach the hockey team to be the best it can be.”"

At the same time, Dubois said this about Tortorella after being traded from Columbus to Winnipeg for Patrik Laine.

"“Before I got drafted to Columbus, I knew what kind of coach [Tortorella] was. And I’ve heard from players that played for him in the past, some when he was in Tampa. I heard from Vincent Lecavalier, Martin St. Louis, and the consensus I got, and this is my opinion, is that he helps guys. He pushes guys, he motivates guys, he gets guys going.And that’s something that wasn’t always easy, but you have to appreciate the honesty and appreciate that he was trying to make me a better player, make me a better person. And I know for some people it might be that’s the reason, but it’s not.”"

So, Dubois sees what Tortorella was trying to do. That’s not bad. He respects what Tortorella can do for a player. Likewise, Tortorella, when it came to ability, had nothing but good things to say about Dubois. And this is where a reunion could make sense.

Dubois is two years removed from this situation. He’s seen what a mess the Jets are and the stability that Tortorella can bring. He is also two years more mature. None of us like getting yelled at by our bosses, but sometimes we need it. And when we are young, we may need it more than others.

Jeremiah Trotter left the Eagles on bad terms and publicly called out Andy Reid. He left for the Redskins, got released a few years later, came back to Philly, and became a Pro-Bowler again. Scott Rolen left the Phillies on bad terms and will be inducted in their Wall of Honor and it is possible his number could be retired. For Flyers fans, we all know the Eric Lindros saga. His number hangs in the rafters and he is a major ambassador for the team now. My point is that with time comes healing and growth.

Tortorella and Dubois are not the same people they were back then in 2020. Who’s to say that they could patch up that relationship. And if Tortorella’s issue with Dubois was that he wanted off the team but he would want to be in Philly, wouldn’t that clear that up? If his desire is to play in Philly and make it a winner, would that sit well with Tortorella?

To be honest, it sounds like that he wants to play in Montreal like all good French Canadians want. However, everyone thought the same thing about a talented young forward named Daniel Briere once upon a time. Instead, he spurned the Habs for Philly.

Stranger things have happened in sports. If Dubois would welcome a reunion with Torts and would sign an extension to stay in Philly and if Torts would give him that chance, that would be an awesome addition to the Flyers offense. It’s a lot of ifs to navigate through, but it is worth at least asking the question.

And if both sides were willing to do it, it’s something worth considering. It’s a lot of ifs, but it could be a great thing for the Flyers. Maybe the Flyers and Jets could exchange disgruntled players (maybe a package of Hayes and or DeAngelo/Provy for Dubois) and try to solve each other’s problems.