Pierre-Luc Dubois is one of those players. The 19-year-old forward has already enjoyed an impressive rookie season scoring 20 goals and 48 points for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Drafted third overall in 2016, Dubois is showing the hockey world why Columbus had him so high on their draft board.
Dubois has two goals and four points at the 2018 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship but more than that has added depth and timely scoring into the Canada lineup. Opponents have to focus on more than Connor McDavid’s line and instead treat all lines as a threat.
Dubois, making his first appearance at the World Championship, has had to get used to his new situation very quickly.
“It is different. Different ways, different systems, different teammates. Everything,” he said. “And, of course, being on the Olympic ice, too. So, it has been a bit of an adjustment. But being around these pros makes it easier.”
One aspect of the game that World Championship newcomers have to get used to is the big ice. For some, it is a welcome addition, boosting their offensive creativity and highlighting their skating skills. For others, it can be daunting covering so much more icy territory. Dubois recognizes the larger surface can mean feast or famine depending on the player, but he seems to be doing just fine.
“At least on the big ice you have more time and space but that can be a trap too because having too much time can be dangerous too so let’s see. It is a big difference from what you’re used to but I like challenges.”
“I’m playing left wing now, too. It’s a position that I’ve never played so it is a different position. You have to change your game a bit.”
Dubois made the Columbus opening night roster playing right wing. He scored in his first game but then was scoreless in his next eleven games before returning to centre. Once back, his production picked up and he finished the season setting Blue Jackets rookie records for scoring.
“It was a real fun year in Columbus,” he said. “I started off slow but then I went back to centre and that’s when my game picked up. I thought I played well when I went back to centre.”
Between his rookie year in the NHL and ending the season with a stint on Team Canada with a chance to win the coveted World Championship trophy, it’s been a year of figuring things out and improving.
“I learned a lot. We had a really good team. You have a lot of responsibilities playing 18-20 minutes a night. There is still a lot I can learn.”