The first indicators of the Winnipeg Jets’ quest to expand the leadership of the hockey club were on display last night in Edmonton.
Just a handful of veterans dressed for the 4-0 pre-season opening loss to the Oilers, so in terms of deciding who would wear As for the game, the options were limited for Rick Bowness and his coaching staff.
Defenceman Dylan DeMelo and right winger Mason Appleton were ideal candidates to get a letter, in that they’ve been around for a while, are respected teammates, but are not thought of as guys with a voice in the room. At least from the outside looking in.
I’m thinking this is exactly the result of the process Bowness was looking for when he decided to go into this season without a captain or any alternates in place.
It was the coaching staff’s choice of the third player to have an “A” attached to the left of his jersey last night — Pierre-Luc Dubois.
If PLD was committed to the Jets on a long-term basis, he’d be a slam dunk for a letter.
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But because Dubois has chosen to play his cards “one year at a time” — while the clock ticks closer to him becoming an unrestricted free agent at the end of next season — is the sixth-year centre worthy of the honour that goes along with wearing an “A” for a hockey club?
There’s not a lot to be read into that decision, because, as GM Kevin Cheveldayoff has made very clear, the focus of the franchise is on this year and this year alone.
There may be questions about what happens down the road when it comes to #80.
But Pierre-Luc Dubois has also made it abundantly clear — with a very noticeable “positive” start to training camp — for this coming season, he shares that focus as well.
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