Winnipeg Jets complete Pierre-Luc Dubois trade with Los Angeles Kings

In a move that had been expected to happen at some point for more than a year, the Winnipeg Jets have finally parted with centre Pierre-Luc Dubois.

The Jets were able to complete a sign (eight years/$US 68M) and trade with the Los Angeles Kings for the 25-year-old pivot that will see Winnipeg receive  forwards Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafollo, and Rasmus Kupari in exchange, along with a second round pick in the 2024 NHL entry draft.

Vilardi is a 23-year-old right winger/centre who scored a career-high 23 goals and added 18 assists for 41 points in 63 games for LA during the 2022-23 season. The six-foot-three-inch, 215-pound native of Kingston, Ont., was selected 11th overall by the Kings in 2017. Vilardi is a pending restricted free agent.

Twenty-nine-year-old Iafollo scored 14 goals and had 22 assists for 36 points in 59 games in his sixth season with Los Angeles. The six-foot-tall, 200-pound left winger was a teammate of Jets defenceman Neal Pionk with the University of Minnesota-Duluth from 2015-17. Iafollo is under contract for the next two seasons at an AAV of $US 4M.

Kupari is a 23-year-old, six-foot-two-inch and 200-pound right shot centre who had 3-12-15 totals in 66 games with Los Angeles this past season. The Kings first round pick in 2018 (20th overall) is also a pending restricted free agent.

Dubois registered career highs in assists (36) and points (63) this past season with the Jets while scoring 27 times to come within a goal of matching a career best in that category.

In 195 games with Winnipeg, Dubois had totals of 63-80-143 along with 219 PIMs.

Winnipeg acquired Dubois and a third-round pick in the 2022 NHL entry draft from Columbus on January 23, 2021 in exchange for forwards Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic. Under the terms of the deal, the Jets also retained 26 per cent of Laine’s salary.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois reacts after scoring a goal in the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 in Los Angeles.

Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois reacts after scoring a goal in the first period of the team's NHL hockey game against the Los Angeles Kings on Thursday, Oct. 28, 2021 in Los Angeles.


Despite the continuing efforts of Jets general manager Kevin Cheveldayoff to get Dubois signed to a long-term deal, the six-foot-two-inch, 205-pound pivot remained very non-committal throughout his time in Winnipeg. Whenever he was questioned about his hockey future, Dubois responded with answers that were vague at best — leading to speculation he would not re-sign with the Jets once he was no longer contractually obligated to the team.

That storyline heated up significantly leading up to the 2022 NHL Entry Draft in Montreal in the first week of July when Dubois’ agent Patrick Brisson was quoted as saying his client would one day like to play for his hometown Canadiens.

Rumours of a potential Dubois trade to Montreal reached a crescendo during the draft at the Bell Centre, but the transaction never materialized and Dubois instead agreed to accept the Jets’ one-year qualifying offer for $US 6M to remain in Winnipeg for the 2022-23 season.

Brisson reportedly told Jets management over the summer of 2022, the intention of the Dubois camp was to test the free agent market on July 1, 2024. Despite repeated questions regarding that decision, Dubois would neither confirm or deny those were his future plans — saying only he was focused on the coming season.

Then this off-season it was reported that Brisson informed Cheveldayoff during the Scouting Combine, June 4-10 in Buffalo, that Dubois was not going to sign a one-year deal to take him into unrestricted free agency and submitted a list of teams to the Jets GM that his client would be willing to negotiate a long-term contract with to clear the way for a “sign and trade” transaction.

Dubois was the third overall pick in the 2016 NHL entry draft by Columbus behind Auston Matthews (Toronto)  and Laine (Winnipeg). During the first three years of his NHL career with the Blue Jackets, Dubois scored 65 goals and adding 93 assists for 168 points in 234 games.

But going into his fourth season, Dubois had a reported falling with then-Columbus head coach John Tortorella that eventually resulted in him asking to be traded — which paved the way for Dubois to become a Winnipeg Jet.


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