Kings GM Rob Blake continues to retool his roster via another massive deal. Just one week removed from a three-team trade with Philadelphia and Columbus, he’s now swung a deal with Winnipeg that will land Pierre-Luc Dubois in Southern California. The 25-year-old forward arrives in LA coming off back-to-back seasons with the Jets that saw him record 28 and 27 goals.
Going back the other way in return is a package that includes Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kuapri, and Gabe Vilardi. LA is also including a 2024 second round pick.
From the LA side, Iafallo was key to the deal, as he carries a $4M AAV for the next two seasons and the Kings began the day with less than $2M in projected cap space available — all while still needing to sign a goalie. Moving out money was absolutely necessary to get the deal done.
Vilardi was the most attractive chip in all of this from a Winnipeg side. A former No. 1 pick, the 23-year-old forward is coming off a 23-goal campaign and his future continues to look very bright. He put up 41 points in 63 games last season, a pace that trails Dubois, yet it came on an LA club that is far less offensively minded. Vilardi’s defensive analytics are better than Dubois. Adding in Iafallo’s strong 200-ft game, Kings coach Todd McLellan will likely need to reconfigure the team’s defensive approach at forward and on the penalty kill.
Iafallo also gave the Kings some depth at forward, as prior to the trade he wasn’t even factored into their top three lines. It was a good insurance policy to have around should one of the top forwards be out due to injury — something that happened on several occasions last year. Now, pushing the ceiling of the salary cap, the Kings will need some of their younger, less experienced players to step up in 2023-24. They’ll now be counted on to play more minutes and in more important roles.
— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 27, 2023
As part of the trade, we have confirmed Dubois is signing an 8-year contract extension at $8.5M AAV. The contract also has some limited no trade protection.
Dubois' 8 year $8.5M Cap Hit deal includes:
Years 2-5 Full No Move Clause
Year 6: 15 Team No Trade Clause
Year 7 & 8: 10 Team No Trade Clausehttps://t.co/VrNAe9IPYx
— PuckPedia (@PuckPedia) June 27, 2023
An interesting aspect of this deal is where McLellan ultimately slots Dubois. While it’s safe to assume he’ll be at center with Kevin Fiala on his left side, who will play right wing? And will that be the second line or the third line? We’re assuming the former.
One of the key areas Blake wanted to address with this trade was size down the middle. Mission accomplished, as Dubois is 6-foot-4; which now makes LA one of the biggest teams at center on their top three lines.
LA Kings Potential Lineup
Byfield – Kopitar – Kempe
Fiala – Dubois – Arvidsson
Moore – Danault – Kaliyev
Grundstrom – Lizotte – Fagemo
Anderson – Doughty
Gavrikov – Roy
Bjornfot – Clarke/Spence
The Kings will still need to find a goalie in the days ahead. More on that here.
Regarding his jersey number in LA, Dubois entered the league wearing No. 18 in Columbus — obviously, that isn’t available with the Kings. He began by wearing No. 13 in Winnipeg, but eventually switched to No. 80 to honor his previous Blue Jackets teammate, goalie Matiss Kivlenieks, who died tragically in a fireworks related accident in 2021.
We will update this article throughout the day.
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