Oilers’ comeback in Stanley Cup Final might have led to Kings making Dubois trade

Pierre-Luc Dubois
Photo credit:Yannick Peterhans-USA TODAY Sports
Mike Gould
29 days ago
The Stanley Cup Final isn’t over — far from it — but that didn’t stop two trades from going down on Wednesday.
The first one wasn’t a huge shock. The Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils had been talking about a Jacob Markstrom trade for months. Everybody knew it was only a matter of time before they swung a deal.
But the second one? Well, to put it mildly, it was a bit of a stunner.
Make no mistake, there had been plenty of chatter about what the Los Angeles Kings would do with Pierre-Luc Dubois this summer. The 25-year-old forward barely managed 40 points last season and has seven years remaining on his deal at an enormous $8.5 million cap hit. There’s a strong case to be made that his contract is one of the worst in the league.
In the Capitals, the Kings found a willing taker for Dubois who also had a workhorse goaltender to spare. Darcy Kuemper is coming off a rough season in D.C., but he’s only two years removed from winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche and also has a history with the Kings, having put up excellent numbers in 19 games with the club during the 2017-18 season.
Hockey fans will be considering the ramifications of this trade for years to come, but one aspect of it worth diving into now is whether the Kings might’ve considered buying out Dubois had the Oilers not extended the Stanley Cup Final past four or five games.
Here’s the thing. Once a player turns 26, an NHL team has to pay them two-thirds of their original salary in a buyout — but, if they execute the buyout when the player in 25 or younger, the team is only on the hook for one-third of the money.
Dubois will turn 26 on June 24. The NHL’s first buyout window opens 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final ends. Had Florida won Game 5, that would’ve meant the Kings could’ve bought out Dubois at age 25.
Now that the Oilers/Panthers series is going longer, the margins are getting slimmer. A Florida win in Game 6 would’ve just barely allowed the Kings to execute a cheap Dubois buyout. Game 7? No dice.
All this is moot now that Dubois is a Capital. By all accounts, it appears that Washington has high hopes and big plans for the 6’4″ centre, who previously asked out of Columbus and Winnipeg before getting to L.A. in the first place. The Kings traded Dubois less than two weeks before July 1, when the full no-movement clause in his contract is slated to take effect.
Either way, Kings general manager Rob Blake has been adamant that his club had no plans to exercise a buyout on the final seven years of Dubois’ contract. Such a buyout would’ve cost approximately $27.8 million in total over the next 14 seasons — a far cry from the $59 million the Capitals owe Dubois between now and 2031.
Game 6 between the Oilers and Panthers at Rogers Place is slated for Friday, June 21 at 6:00 p.m. MT.


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