Jets' Dubois talks return to Columbus: 'I circled this date on my calendar'

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Former Blue Jackets center Pierre-Luc Dubois isn't quite sure what to expect from his first game back in Columbus since being traded to the Winnipeg Jets in a blockbuster shakeup last January.

When asked if he'd thought about the reception he might receive from the fans when the Jets square off against the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, the 23-year-old laughed and said, "a little bit."

"It's been almost a year now, but I'm expecting some people still to maybe be unhappy, disappointed," Dubois said in a media scrum before the game. "If they're happy, that's great. If they're not happy and booing me, I've heard it before."

Dubois has highly anticipated his return to Columbus ever since the team traded him (along with a 2022 third-round pick) to Winnipeg in exchange for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic.

"I circled this date on my calendar. Not because of the players involved, but because it's my first time being back. I saw the news about (Laine's) father this week, I’m really sorry about that," Dubois said. "We're all feeling for him. Hopefully I get to play against him in Winnipeg."

Laine, who remains sidelined with an injury, is dealing with the death of his father Harri and is unavailable for the contest.

Dubois added it "definitely feels weird" being on the visitors' side of Nationwide Arena.

"Tonight, I think it might take a little part of the warm-up, maybe first shift, second shift (to adjust), and then after that, it'll be just a normal game."

The Blue Jackets selected Dubois third overall in the 2016 draft and he put up 159 points in 239 career games with the franchise.

Dubois called the end of his tenure in Columbus "complicated" and "choppy," but he once again stayed away from revealing any more details as to why he requested a trade.

"It wasn't a decision made because of someone or some things. I felt like it was the right time to move on, and I’m happy here in Winnipeg. It's going well, I've learned a lot, and I'm gonna keep learning," he said. "It was just time for something new."

Dubois has returned to form with the Jets to start the season, registering 10 goals and six assists in 18 games.

Jets' Dubois talks return to Columbus: 'I circled this date on my calendar'
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