It’s finally happened.
The Los Angeles Kings have acquired forward Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and a 2024 second-round pick. The same pick that was acquired for Sean Durzi.
This deal also comes with an eight-year $68 million extension for Dubois. Making it a true sign-and-trade deal.
As first reported on Saturday, the Kings have been closing in on a Dubois deal since Saturday. And Vilardi was the main piece from the word go.
I'm also hearing that the Kings are moving closer to a deal for PLD. Heard rumblings that Gabe could be involved, but nothing concrete yet.
It's going to be an interesting next few days.
— Austin Stanovich (@AStanovich68) June 24, 2023
Adding Iafallo makes sense from a cap perspective, clearing his $4 million off the books goes a long way in securing Dubois’ signature.
Kupari is an interesting late addition to this deal. I’ve remained positive about Kupari’s offensive upside, but this deal tells me the Kings don’t share that optimism. And if that is the case, I understand adding him.
He’s very replaceable if he doesn’t have much room to grow.
This is a slight overpay for the Kings, no doubt. Giving up a good roster player — who is also one of the best defensive wings in the league — a highly-skilled prospect who just broke out and another promising prospect with NHL experience is a big price for Dubois.
However, with an abundance of forwards, the Kings can overpay a bit. Iafallo is a very good player, but fans have been asking for Arthur Kaliyev to get a shot in the top nine for a year now. Well, now he has that chance.
Vilardi was excellent last season, but injuries are still a concern and that’s one season of good production at 23. And Kupari was caved in during the postseason and there are serious questions about what his ceiling is.
Still, this feels a bit rich for a player with a career-high of 0.86 points per game and an 82-game average of 24 goals and 55 points.
There are also concerns about Dubois defensively and his poor faceoff percentage. His profile doesn’t match up to a Todd McLellan center right now.
Dubois does bring a sandpaper element that the Kings are missing in their top six — and roster as a whole — but I’m not sure that’s enough to warrant this trade.
The Kings might also believe that Dubois has another level to reach. He’s the same age Adrian Kempe was when Kempe broke out. And as a big player, is entering his physical prime.
This trade presents a big risk for Rob Blake. If Dubois stays the same player and one of, if not both, Vilardi and Kupari take the next step. This trade could look bad in hindsight.
On the flip side. If Dubois takes the next step, while Vilardi and Kupari don’t, it looks really good.
The contract is a bit rich for my taste and this feels like an overpay in terms of assets and contracts. However, it’s fair to wait and see how Dubois performs before fully judging the deal.
This is an aggressive move from Blake and one that carries a lot of risk.