The Los Angeles Kings announced that they have acquired center Pierre-Luc Dubois in a sign-and-trade with the Winnipeg Jets. In exchange for Dubois, the Jets received Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and a 2024 second-round pick.
Dubois, who was set to become a restricted free agent, signed an eight-year deal worth $85 million with the Jets before getting traded to the Kings. The 25-year-old Dubois is coming off a 63-point season at Winnipeg, and he has proven to be a strong top-six center in his six-year NHL career.
The Columbus Blue Jackets selected Dubois with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2016 NHL Draft, and he spent three seasons there before getting traded to the Jets in 2021. In 195 games with Winnipeg, Dubois tallied 63 goals and 80 assists.
The Kings are banking on the idea that Dubois can take his game to the next level and take over the first-line center role once Anze Kopitar retires. Los Angeles general manager Rob Blake said Dubois will be a key part of the organization for years to come.
“Pierre-Luc Dubois is an elite two-way center with a unique skillset, and we’re excited to have him join the organization and commit to us long-term,” Blake said in a statement. “Over the last few seasons, he has proven the ability to contribute to all facets of the game and we are thrilled to be able to add a player of this caliber into our lineup.”
Following their first-round playoff exit, the Jets decided to reconstruct their roster this offseason, and this is a big step toward doing that.
Vilardi was the No. 11 overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, and he had a bit of a breakout season in 2022-23 with 23 goals in 68 games while also displaying a strong defensive acumen. He is the most intriguing part of the return for Winnipeg.
Iafallo grew into a solid middle-six forward in his six seasons with the Kings, and he just totaled 36 points in 59 games this past season. He will provide the Jets with some strong depth over the next couple of years.
Kupari was the No. 20 overall pick in 2018 and he has yet to really establish himself at the NHL level. Kupari totaled 15 points in 66 games last season, but he could see his role expand at Winnipeg.