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Kings Viewing Dubois as Internal Anze Kopitar Replacement

The Los Angeles Kings are potentially eyeing Pierre-Luc Dubois as a potential depth-chart replacement for Anze Kopitar, who will turn 36.

The Los Angeles Kings are potentially eyeing Pierre-Luc Dubois as a potential depth-chart replacement for Anze Kopitar, who will turn 36 soon. The combination of Kopitar being in the final stretch of his NHL career and the fact that Dubois seems open to exploring other options beyond the Montreal Canadiens could explain why the Kings have, all of a sudden, jumped into the mix of teams pursuing a trade ahead of the NHL Draft and free agency.

According to reports, the Kings so badly want this, they may be open to including Quinton Byfield or Gabe Vilardi in the trade with the Winnipeg Jets. Shedding contracts like Alex Iafallo or Viktor Arvidsson, and possibly including Sean Durzi, could help balance the finances.

Anze Kopitar Pierre Luc Dubois Kings trade
Anze Kopitar Pierre Luc Dubois Kings trade

The Athletic writes in a recent article looking at the top trade candidates this off-season:

Kopitar’s current contract ($10 million average annual value) expires after this season, and he’ll be taking a pay cut on his next deal. With the cap set to go up about $5 million next year, the Kings really only need to find a one-year solution to get Dubois and his extension into place. They’ll likely have to settle on a frugal goaltending option to round out the team for next year if they land Dubois.

While the Kings are looking at this, Montreal is still also pursuing Dubois, trying to navigate just how much they’re willing to give up instead of waiting to see if they can land the player down the road in free agency. Other teams are in the mix as well. “It’s not just a two-team race,” the article writes.

This Move Makes Sense For the Kings

It’s a lot to give up if the Kings move Byfield or Vilardi, but finding a replacement as Kopitar moves down the depth chart and signs team-friendly contracts makes Dubois an ideal target. It would give the Kings center depth and immediately improve their chances of contending next season, where the team has already played well but lost out in two consecutive first-round matchups to the Edmonton Oilers.

This deal would cement the Kings in a top-three spot alongside Vegas and Edmonton in the Pacific Division.

Next: NHL Trade Talk 2023 NHL Draft Guide: Picks, Projections, and Profiles

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