Los Angeles Kings Trade Pierre-Luc Dubois to Washington Capitals For Darcy Kuemper

Kevin Neufeld/InsideTheRink

Remember when the Los Angeles Kings were eliminated from the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and rumors were swirling about the possibility of the team buying out struggling forward Pierre-Luc Dubois?

Kings GM Rob Blake addressed these rumors and said he had no plans to buy out Dubois. Blake was right about not pursuing a buyout, as he traded the star instead.

In a surprising turn of events, the Washington Capitals acquired him in a massive trade that sent goaltender Darcy Kuemper and his $5.25 million AAV contract over the next three years to the Los Angeles Kings.

This marks the second straight offseason Dubois has been traded. Last year, the Winnipeg Jets sent him to the Kings, where he signed an eight-year, $68 million extension with an AAV of $8.5 million per year. It’s worth noting that Dubois had a full no-move clause set to kick in on July 1st, which would have allowed him to block this trade. As for Kuemper, the netminder had a tough season with the Capitals, going 13-14-3 with a 3.31 goals-against average, a .890 save percentage, and one shutout in 33 games (30 starts).

The 34-year-old struggled so much that he ended up as the backup to Charlie Lindgren when Washington was swept by the New York Rangers in four straight games during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs. This trade involves two players coming off forgettable seasons, now looking for a fresh start in new homes. But one-for-one trades like these, especially involving two players with lucrative contracts, are rare, so why did Blake and Capitals GM Brian MacLellan agree to this?

Why Acquiring Darcy Kuemper Helps the Los Angeles Kings:

The Kings have acquired one of the league’s most reliable goaltenders from the past few seasons. Kuemper had a down year in 2023-24 with Washington, going 13-14-3 with a 3.31 goals-against average, a .890 save percentage, and one shutout in 33 games (30 starts). The 34-year-old struggled so much that he ended up as the backup to Charlie Lindgren when Washington was swept by the New York Rangers in four straight games during the first round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

However, he still ranks 15th in the NHL in goals saved above average (GSAA) over the last three seasons, with a total of 20.6, according to Natural Stat Trick. That tells us this year was an anomaly. Kuemper is still a good goaltender.

The Capitals allowed more scoring and high-danger chances than any other playoff team, which skewed their goaltender’s numbers. As he showed with the Arizona Coyotes and the Colorado Avalanche, where he won a Stanley Cup in 2022, the 34-year-old can be trusted between the pipes.

Kuemper has been one of the league’s better netminders, so it’s no surprise the Kings see him as a long-term solution in goal. It’s also a full-circle moment for both the organization and the player, as Darcy was a backup to Jonathan Quick during the 2017-18 season. Now, he’s back in Black with the chance to be in the starters crease.

Yet while acquiring a former Stanley Cup champion and experienced backbone is great, the big win here is getting rid of the Dubious contract. Credit to Blake for cleaning up the mess he created last Summer. The Kings traded $8.5 million over seven years for $5.25 million over three. The latter is shorter and cheaper, giving them extra cap space to work with.

Why Acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois Helps the Washington Capitals:

PLD had a career-worst 16 goals and 40 points. There was too much deferring on his part and not enough aggressiveness from him. He’s at his best driving a line and getting to the inside, not on the flanks. When he was given the opportunity to shine in Hollywood, he succumbed to the expectations by overthinking. He’s paid because he has the physical and skillful attributes of a playmaker, but his mental game needs a reset. The Caps are hoping going to DC and playing for a young coach like Spencer Carberry can help him.

As for trading Kuemper, his struggles resulted in him becoming a backup to 30-year-old Charlie Lindgren, who has shown no signs of giving up the net. The trade ensures the Capitals believe they have their goaltender for the future.

The Verdict:

It’s a good trade for both sides. One team is a contenders mindset, acquires cap space and a reliable goaltender while yielding an underperforming star. The other, headed for a retool, traded their older backup netminder and lured a potential reclamation project they can build around, as Dubious is only 26 with much ahead of him in his NHL career.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
  1. We Got The Jack
  2. Episode 7. Player Safety First!
  3. Episode 6. Early Trade Season
  4. Episode 5. Longing For The Chiarelli Years
  5. Episode 4. Ottawa’s On Fire

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