Kings will not buy out Pierre-Luc Dubois' contract, GM says

Every goal from Pierre-Luc Dubois' lone season with the Kings (2:05)

Check out all 17 goals from Pierre-Luc Dubois during the 2023-24 season with the Kings as he's being traded to the Capitals. (2:05)

Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake said that the team will not buy out the contract of maligned star center Pierre-Luc Dubois, who struggled in his first season with the team.

The Kings acquired Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets in a blockbuster trade last June. Los Angeles sent forwards Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and Gabriel Vilardi and a 2024 second-round pick for Dubois, who was signed to an 8-year, $68 million contract ($8.5 million average annual value) that kicked in this season.

Dubois, 25, had 40 points in 82 games for the Kings, a 23-point drop in production. Dubois had one goal and 20 penalty minutes in five playoff games against the Edmonton Oilers, who eliminated the Kings in the first round for the third straight season.

While speculation around the league was that the Kings might explore a buyout with Dubois, the team's general manager shut that down.

"We need to make him better," Blake said Monday, while also confirming that he'll remain the general manager for the Kings. "He's had a consistent performance over his career so far and deviated from that this year. It's up to us to help him become more productive to us."

"It's out of my control," Debois said of a contract buyout or trade this summer during Kings players' final media availability last week. "I can only control what I can control."

Dubois put the blame on himself for his first-year flop in Los Angeles.

"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," he said. "I'm committed to having a better season. I'll do anything to be better."

Dubois said it was a challenging transition going from Winnipeg to Los Angeles, and from playing in a more defensive system to having his average ice time (15:42) drop by nearly three minutes per game over last season (18:27). "When you show up to a new team, there's a lot of new roles and new systems. I played on a lot of lines this year. I think any player at the end of the day wants consistency, knowing who you're going out there with," Dubois said.

Los Angeles is the third NHL team for Dubois, who was drafted third overall in 2016 by the Columbus Blue Jackets. The Blue Jackets traded him in January 2021 to the Jets for winger Patrik Laine. In seven NHL seasons, Dubois has 342 points in 516 games.

"I'm not panicking. I'm not stressed. Was it frustrating? Sure. But [my game] is not lost. I just got to get back to it, and that's on me," he said.