Kings trade Pierre-Luc Dubois to Capitals for Darcy Kuemper

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)

The Los Angeles Kings managed to get center Pierre-Luc Dubois off their salary cap while addressing their goaltending need in a stunning trade with the Washington Capitals on Wednesday.

The Kings sent Dubois to the Capitals for goaltender Darcy Kuemper in a one-for-one trade.

Dubois, 25, was acquired by the Kings in a blockbuster trade in June 2023 that sent forwards Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and Gabriel Vilardi, along with a second-round pick, to the Winnipeg Jets. It was a sign-and-trade deal, as the Jets signed Dubois to an eight-year, $68 million extension before shipping him to the Kings.

Acquired to potentially ascend to the Kings' No. 1 center spot after Anze Kopitar's playing days were done, Dubois was a massive disappointment in his first season, with 16 goals and 24 points in 82 games, skating to a minus-9. He continued to underwhelm in the postseason, with one goal and 20 penalty minutes in five games against the Edmonton Oilers.

"I don't think I did a good enough job integrating him in the right roles on the team. I think it wasn't a great fit in that aspect for us, and we take responsibility for that," Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake said to reporters a couple of hours after the trade was announced.

After the season, Blake had vowed not to buy out Dubois' contract. But the buyer's remorse on the earlier deal was clear, and now Dubois is a member of the Capitals.

"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 center 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."

Dubois fills a hole at center for the Capitals, who traded Evgeny Kuznetsov to the Carolina Hurricanes and saw Nicklas Backstrom step away from the NHL due to injuries last season.

Kuemper, 34, signed a five-year, $26.25 million contract with the Capitals in 2022 after winning the Stanley Cup with the Colorado Avalanche. He had a .902 save percentage and a 3.03 goals-against average in 90 games over two seasons. But the emergence last season of goaltender Charlie Lindgren, who was 25-16-7 with a .911 save percentage, made Kuemper expendable.

"After witnessing Charlie Lindgren's performance last season, we believe he deserves a chance to play a more significant role within our team," MacLellan said.

Kuemper was previously a member of the Kings for 19 games in 2017-18, before they traded him to the Arizona Coyotes.

The Kings were seeking a solution in goal after the combination of Cam Talbot and David Rittich played the majority of the season following an injury to Pheonix Copley. Talbot and Copley are free agents, and Rittich is signed through next season.

Blake is hoping that the duo of Kuemper and Rittich can provide stability in net for at least a couple of seasons.

"We've had to go to different goalies here in the last couple of years for different circumstances. But, we have comfort in those two getting us where we want to go," Blake said.

Information from The Associated Press was included in this report.