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Revisiting the Winnipeg Jets Pierre-Luc Dubois trade almost 1 year later

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Photo credit:© Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Connor Baldwin
24 days ago
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Pierre-Luc Dubois was still a member of the Winnipeg Jets 1 year ago today. Seems like it’s been longer than that, especially with the news from yesterday that Dubois is on the move again. On June 27th, 2023, the Jets began their off-season with a big move that sent Pierre-Luc Dubois to the Los Angeles Kings. I was actually considering looking at this very trade a few weeks ago, but I’m glad that I waited until today now that we have another Dubois trade to talk about. I’ll break down and revisit the Jets Dubois trade that sent him to the Kings, and then compare it to the trade that the Kings made just over a day ago which sent Dubois to the Washington Capitals.
In case you forgot how the Jets acquired Dubois, well, he was the return from the blockbuster trade which sent Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic to the Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, the Jets received Dubois and a 3rd round pick in 2022. It was a major move for both teams at the time, but the move was made due to the fact that all 3 players involved had requested to be traded in the months leading up to the exchange.
After Dubois’ 3rd season with the Jets, he was just coming off his career best season. In the 2022-23 season, Dubois posted 27 goals and 36 assists for 63 points in 73 games. The chemistry between Dubois and the Jets wasn’t always there, and after his best season he was once again in a situation where it was best for him to be moved to a new team.
In came the Kings, who traded Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and a 2nd round pick (37th overall from Montreal) in the upcoming 2024 NHL entry draft. The Kings clearly believed in Dubois, and signed him to a massive 8-year, 68 million dollar extension. Before I look at what the Kings got from Dubois, because, spoiler alert, it wasn’t very good, how did the Jets do with this trade?
The 1st piece of the return, and the main piece, was 24-year old Gabriel Vilardi. In the 2022-23 season, Vilardi posted 41 points in 63 games. Vilardi’s 1st season with the Jets was affected somewhat by injuries, but he still had a very solid season, scoring 22 goals and adding 12 assists for 36 points in 47 games. The 2nd player that went to the Jets was Alex Iafallo. The versatile forward played in all 82 games with the Jets this season, and collected 11 goals and 16 assists for 27 points. The final player that the Jets acquired for Dubois was Rasmus Kupari. The 24-year old didn’t exactly have a good 1st season with the Jets, tallying only 1 assist and no goals in 28 games.
Vilardi is only going to get better next season, Iafallo will continue to be a veteran two-way presence, and Kupari still has a little bit of time to develop into an everyday player. So I’d say the Jets made out pretty good in this trade right? But wait, there’s more. The final “unknown” piece of this trade is the 37th overall pick in the upcoming 2024 draft. In a weeks time we’ll know who this player will be, and in a few years time you can look back again at this trade to see if that player will be making an impact for the Jets.
The Kings, on the other side of this trade, didn’t get the Dubois they were hoping for to put it lightly. The soon to be 26 year old scored 16 goals and added 24 assists for 40 points in 82 games. Dubois was moved around the lineup throughout the year, and he just never seemed to be able to look like the player he was earlier in his career. Clearly, this move didn’t pay off for the Kings, and the team decided that after just 1 season that he would be traded once again.
Dubois is about to join his 4th team of his young career in the 2024-25 season, the Washington Capitals. The Capitals acquired Dubois in a one-for-one player swap that saw the Kings acquire veteran goaltender Darcy Kuemper. The move caught many people by surprise for a number of reasons. First of all, the Capitals will now be taking on the rest of Dubois’ 7 years of his current contract. The Kings may have found their starter for next season in Darcy Kuemper, but he comes at a pricey cost of 5.25 million per year until the end of the 2026-27 season. Perhaps most notably is the huge difference in return that the Jets were able to get for Dubois just 1 year ago. Kevin Cheveldayoff, the GM of the Jets, might have pulled off the Jets Dubois trade at just the right time.
So looking back at this trade from almost 1 year ago, the Jets were 100% winners. It’ll be interesting to track how the rest of Dubois’ career goes from here, but most importantly it’ll be exciting to see how the 3 players that the Jets acquired will do in their 2nd seasons. Don’t forget, the final piece of the Jets Dubois trade will be named on June 29th in round 2 of the 2024 NHL draft, which will give fans a new prospect to watch for and someone who will be forever linked to this Dubois trade. As for the latest Dubois trade, I hope the Capitals will get a better version of Dubois for their sake, and for the Kings hopefully they get an older version of Darcy Kuemper, who helped lead the Colorado Avalanche to the Stanley Cup in 2022.

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