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Caps acquire F Dubois from Kings for G Kuemper


LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Los Angeles Kings acquired goaltender Darcy Kuemper from the Washington Capitals for forward Pierre-Luc Dubois in a trade of high-priced, underachieving players on Wednesday.

Kuemper, who has three seasons remaining on a five-year $26.25 million contract he signed with Washington in 2022, ended up being the backup to Charlie Lindgren when the Capitals were swept in four games in the first round by the New York Rangers.

The 34-year old Kuemper appeared in 33 games with 30 starts for Washington last season. He was 13-14-3 with a 3.31 goals-against average and one shutout.

Kuemper has played for five teams during his 12-year NHL career, including the Kings. He signed with Los Angeles as a free agent in 2017 and went 10-1-3 with a 2.10 GAA in 19 games (15 starts) before being dealt to Arizona near the trade deadline in 2018.

Kuemper was the second goaltender to be traded Wednesday, after the New Jersey Devils got Jacob Markstrom from Calgary.

Los Angeles, which hasn't won a playoff series since winning its second Stanley Cup title in three years in 2014, was in the market for a goaltender. Before acquiring Keumper, David Rittich was the Kings only goaltender under contract for next season.

The Kings were unlikely to make a splash for a netminder during the upcoming free agency period because of a lack of salary cap space.

Los Angeles didn't have a lot of cap room after it acquired Dubois from Winnipeg and signed him to an eight-year, $68 million contract last season. The centre struggled and had career lows for a full season in goals (16) and points (40).

Dubois, who turns 26 on Monday, was relegated to the Kings' fourth line in the playoffs, when they lost in five games in the first round to eventual Western Conference champion Edmonton.

This will be Dubois' fourth team in eight seasons. He forced a trade to Los Angeles last year after previously telling Winnipeg he intended to become an unrestricted free agent when his contract expired after the 2023-24 season.

The Jets had acquired Dubois from Columbus in January 2021 after saying he no longer wanted to play for the Blue Jackets, who drafted him third overall in 2016.

The Capitals are hoping that Dubois returns to his previous form. He had career highs with 63 points and 36 assists in 2022-23 and has scored at least 20 goals four times.

“We are thrilled to announce the addition of Pierre-Luc to the Caps organization,” Capitals general manager Brian MacLellan said in a statement. “This acquisition brings in a talented 25-year-old with immense potential to become a top-tier centre in the NHL. With his size, exceptional skating, and high hockey IQ, we are confident he will thrive in our organization with increased responsibility and opportunity."


AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this story.