Dubois changes perspective quickly after joining Caps, a year since signing long term in LA

The life Pierre-Luc Dubois envisioned for himself a year ago no longer exists.

Back then, he had requested and been granted a trade from Winnipeg to Los Angeles, signed a contract for $68 million over the next eight seasons and thought he would be a big part of the Kings’ future.

Instead, Dubois endured a disappointing, underproductive season and was traded again last week to the Washington Capitals for goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

Dubois turned 26 on Monday and has already been traded three times since 2021. After the first and second were wanted by him, the latest forced him to change his perspective quickly upon joining his fourth NHL organization.

“I don’t think there’s any time for anybody to feel sorry about themselves,” Dubois said on a video call with reporters Wednesday, one year short of the anniversary of signing his current contract. “You learn in the hockey world teams will do what they think is better for their team, and there’s no hard feelings. For me, I could take it multiple ways, but I’m choosing to take it as extra motivation and to just get myself ready for next season.”

Dubois acknowledged he probably did not need more motivation after putting up just 40 points, the lowest of his career in a full, 82-game season. Kings general manager Rob Blake took responsibility for Dubois not being put in the right roles and the situation not being a great fit.

The trade gives Dubois, picked third by Columbus in the 2016 draft and traded to Winnipeg five years later for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, another fresh start. Dubois is the Capitals’ latest reclamation project, two summers after signing another center who was a No. 3 pick and already on his second team.

That one worked out swimmingly, with Dylan Strome establishing himself as an important part of Washington’s evolving core in the final years of the Alex Ovechkin era. Strome and Dubois were actually roommates when they played together on Canada’s world junior team in 2017.

“I’m sure that we’ll push each other, and he’ll teach me what he’s learned already,” Dubois said. “To be able to play with him again will be really fun and get to know him again. Obviously, we’re in different stages in life, but it’ll be exciting.”

Dubois is at the stage of trying to get back on track. On three previous occasions he scored 27 or more goals in a season, and GM Brian MacLellan when acquiring him said Dubois had immense potential to be a top-tier player because of his size, skating and hockey IQ — in part because he’s expected to have a bigger role than in L.A.

“It was exactly what you want to hear as a player: How excited they are, how I can help in a lot of ways for this team,” Dubois said of his first conversation with MacLellan. “You want to feel welcome. You want to feel like you’re a part of it.”


AP NHL: https://apnews.com/hub/nhl

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