Capitals Gamble on Acquiring Pierre-Luc Dubois

The Washington Capitals had many needs this offseason, and finding a top center was the biggest one.

They traded for Pierre-Luc Dubois from the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday, solving that problem but also taking on some risk. They sent Darcy Kuemper to Los Angeles in exchange, getting rid of his contract but picking up Dubois’ potentially problematic one if he doesn’t perform better.

Dubois, 25 years old and picked third overall in 2016 by Columbus, is now with his fourth team as he enters his eighth NHL season. He had a rough 2023-24 season in Los Angeles with only 16 goals and 40 points in 82 games. However, Washington’s GM Brian MacLellan believes Dubois has “immense potential to become a top-tier center.” He previously hit a career-high of 63 points in the 2022-23 season with Winnipeg before moving to Los Angeles.

MacLellan is betting on Dubois to replace Evgeny Kuznetsov, who was traded to Carolina in March. This gamble affects their salary cap since neither team kept any salary from the trade—Dubois’ $8.5 million cap hit is higher than Kuemper’s $5.25 million. So Washington now has an extra $3.25 million annual cap hit for possibly seven more seasons.

Cap Space Concerns:

Kuemper didn’t do well in Washington and lost his starting role to Charlie Lindgren, who had a career-high of 25 wins last season. Promoting a goalie from their AHL affiliate might save some money, but they still have only $3.7 million left in projected cap space after acquiring Dubois.

This calculation already assumes Nicklas Backstrom will spend his final contract year on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), freeing up $9.2 million. If T.J. Oshie also retires or goes on LTIR due to chronic back pain, Washington could have nearly $15 million available—enough for another top player.

Fans might think this move shows how desperate the Capitals are for younger talent.

MacLellan probably has more moves planned before the NHL Draft on June 28-29; however, these depend heavily on what happens with Backstrom and Oshie’s futures first.

Dubois is worth the risk for a team needing fresh young talent desperately; he fits that need perfectly and has two seasons ahead to improve further Playing alongside Ovechkin could help him grow into a leadership role along with Tom Wilson and Dylan Strome if everything goes smoothly.

What do you think about this trade? Do you believe it will pay off?

Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson
Alex Thompson is a Senior Writer for HockeyMonitor. With a background in Sports Media, Alex joined the team in 2022. He focuses on providing the latest hockey news, game scores, and fresh NHL trade rumors.

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