The Winnipeg Jets trade center Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings in exchange for forward Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Ivalo, Rasmus Kupari and a 2024 second-round pick. Here’s what you need to know:
the AthleteInstant Analysis:
Why did Winnipeg make this deal?
Dubois wanted out. It’s that easy. In 2021, the Jets acquired Dubois (and a third-round draft pick in 2022) for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic in hopes of Dubois being a long-term solution at the position. If the Jets achieve massive success and if Dubois is a part of it, perhaps Dubois’ long-term aspirations to control his own future can be tempered. That clearly wasn’t the case, as DuBois’ camp made it clear last summer that he wanted out, setting the goal of returning to Montreal. When DuBois’ agent, Pat Bryson, told the Jets he wouldn’t even sign a one-year deal to stay in Winnipeg this summer, it precipitated the process that led to the trade. – Ates
Why was Los Angeles, then, after so much talk about Montreal?
the athlete DuBois’ previously reported camp wanted to do right by the Jets, expanding their interest beyond one city’s request. Los Angeles should appeal to the player, given the quality of the roster they can gather with Dubois adding Anze Kopitar and Phillip Danault in the middle. It’s also a big, beautiful market town for a player who seems eager to live a big, lively life outside of hockey as well as on the ice.
Los Angeles became a clear frontrunner when Montreal’s bids remained centered around draft capital rather than players who could help the Jets win now. – Ates
Why did the kings do this trade?
There is some long-term thinking that goes with Dubois getting where they want to be in the short term as well. Kopitar is coming off an impressive 28 goals and 74 points on the season, his best in five years. He could reach 400 goals and 1,200 points next season. He will also be 36 in August. Even if he extends his career in Los Angeles by another contract as he reaches the end of his 10-year contract — and he and the Kings love it — there will be a day when he starts to slow down.
Enter Dubois. At 25, the Saint-Agathe-de-Monts, Quebec native may be six seasons old, but he’s theoretically reached his prime. On a team with designs to take the next step and win the playoffs, Dubois could propel the Kings next season with an impressive center rotation as he matches Kopitar, Philippe Danault and Blake Lizotte. But the expensive stretch in the long run also gives them potential protection at the top of their line-up as Kopitar continues to age and take on a lighter role.
It’s also a sign that Kings general manager Rob Blake is fully shifted into winning mode now and a tacit acknowledgment of some concerns that Quinton Byfield might not develop into the No. 1 he imagined when they picked him No. 1. 2 in 2020. Being taken out of the trade is a sign However, they still wanted him to become an influential player for them. But in Dubois, they’re more of a proven entity for that playoff club now even if its production is more than a pivotal second-line level.
Pierre-Luc Dubois Joins the Kings – Putting Rob Blake’s Legacy as GM to the Test
It’s a risk because Velarde, even with a history of back ailment and injury that sidelined him at the end of the regular season, was just beginning to realize his potential and Ivalo was a highly valued and versatile forward as Kings coach Todd McClellan did. It was very comfortable to use in different areas of the lineup. A great skate with a shot that can beat goalkeepers, the 23-year-old Kobari added a penalty kick last season, but his inconsistency and the presence of other positions prevented him from advancing in the Los Angeles squad.
The headline, though, is that Dubois needs to be a game-changer for the Kings who have given up on regular players and another piece of the youth team. a risk Blake felt was worth taking. – Stephens
What do royalty get in Dubois?
The talent suggests Dubois could be a first-line centre. Production showed that it is more of a second line hub. His status as a player often oscillates between that. When a horse, Dubois is a difficult horse to tame. He will go to the net and has good enough vision to make his forehands and backhands. He’s not very good on the showdown circuit, but the puck protection should work just fine for a Kings club determined to own it. He will also confuse it with the opponent when he is fully engaged.
He’s also on the Kings and DuBois to get the best out of the 25-year-old. His stops in Columbus and Winnipeg were full of contradiction intertwined with colossal promise. From October through early January last season, DuBois scored 19 goals and 48 points in 41 games. His second half was not nearly as productive, though he did regain some advantage over the final weeks of the regular season. Dubois can play the net front on the power play (where Villardi has thrived) and occasionally alternates in and out with Kopitar in a bumper role to keep the Kings running smoothly. But the key here was to see if Dubois could reach another level in the place he sought to play. – Stephens
How does this fit into “retooling” aircraft?
Velarde is a top-six right winger with tremendous hands who can score goals and assist the Jets at both ends of the ice.
Yavalo was beloved by his coaches for his ability to nail any line he joined; It’s easy to see him adding scoring punch to the Jets’ third line, occasionally providing a reliable two-way presence in the top six.
Kupari, the 20th overall pick in 2018, is an interesting inclusion – a 23-year-old fastback who didn’t make much of an impact at the NHL level but scored plenty of points in the AHL. Put it all together and the Jets have a quality package of players who can help now and in the future, too: Iafallo is set to become an unrestricted free agent two seasons from now, while Vilardi and Kupari are ineligible for UFA status until 2027. – Ates
What comes next for the planes?
The Jets’ formidable off-season job continues to be very daunting. Winnipeg still needs to sort out the futures of Connor Hellebuyck and Mark Scheifele. If both players are swapped, as expected, the Jets still need at least two goalkeepers and two centers – assuming Velarde plays on the right wing, where he’s had the most success. Their commercial revenue could certainly help alleviate those concerns, but Winnipeg is clearly not going to rebuild this summer.
Look for the Jets to use Hellebuyck, Scheifele, and the free agent market to add pieces that help them win in the short term. Nothing seems imminent on either front, but the NHL market is clearly heating up. – Ates
Where do kings go from here?
In the end, Blake must turn his attention to Grid. Pheonix Copley was a great story last season as he settled into goalkeeping after Jonathan Quick and Cal Pietersen were erratic and struggled early on in 2022-23. With most of his professional career spent in the AHL, Copley came from the Ontario Reign and won 24 games. He deserves a great deal of credit for keeping L.A.’s season from going off the rails.
But the 31-year-old Alaska native was a backup before jumping into the starting role until Blake caught Jonas Korbesalo from Columbus. With some walker numbers and the fact that it was Corbesalo who played against Edmonton in the playoffs, it makes sense that a new No. 1 goaltender – or someone who can work in the 1A/1B alongside Copley – is necessary to get either through trade or agency. free. There wouldn’t be a lot of money to play with after Dubois’ huge commitment. – Stephens
what are they saying
“Pierre-Luc Dubois is a two-way center of excellence with a unique skill set, and we are excited to have him join the organization and commit to us for the long term,” Blake said in a statement. Over the past few seasons he has proven his ability to contribute to all aspects of the game and we are delighted to be able to add a player of this caliber to our squad.
(Photo: James Carey Lauder/USA Today)
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