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Blake says Kings will not buy out Dubois


Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake shut the door Monday on rumours the team could buy out Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer after just one season with the team.

Acquired in a blockbuster deal with the Winnipeg Jets last June, Dubois just completed the first of an eight-year, $68 million contract signed with Los Angeles after the trade. He remains signed through 2031 at a cap hit of $8.5 million.

“We need to make him better,” Blake said of Dubois, per the Los Angeles Times. “He’s had a consistent performance over his career and deviated from that this year. So it’s up to us as a staff - coaches and management - to help him become more productive to us.”

The 25-year-old forward posted 16 goals and 40 points in 82 games in his first season with the Kings. He finished the year minus-9 while averaging 15:42 of ice time, the eighth-most among forwards. He added one goal in five playoff games with his ice time dropping further to 14:50 per game.

The Kings traded Gabriel VilardiAlex Iafallo, and Rasmus Kupari, and a 2024 second-round pick to the Jets for Dubois, who was reportedly unwilling to sign long-term with Winnipeg. 

Dubois was the Kings' third-highest paid player this season and will move to second on that list behind only Drew Doughty ($11 million cap hit) as Anze Kopitar's cap hit drops from $10 million to $7 million under his new extension. 

With his birthday falling on June 24, speculation on a buyout centred around the possibility of the Kings being able to pay one-third of his remaining contract, rather than two-thirds after June 24 if the buyout window opened in time this year. A buyout before Dubois turned 26 would have the seen the Kings carry a dead cap hit through 2037-38, but never at a higher number than $3.8 million, costing the Kings a total of $15.8 million. A buyout after his birthday would cost the Kings a total of $31.6 million and leave dead cap hits as a high as $4.95 million. 

"If play like I can play, we're not having these questions right now. I take the blame. I take responsibility. It's on me," Dubois said of the rumours of a buyout last week. "I'm committed to having a better season. I'll do anything to be better."

Selected third overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2016, Dubois was traded to the Jets in 2020 amid a falling out with the franchise. He is a four-time 20-goal scorer and has hit the hit 60-point mark on three occasions.