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Kings won't buy out Dubois despite his disappointing season

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Los Angeles Kings general manager Rob Blake confirmed Monday that he has no plans to buy out Pierre-Luc Dubois, according to Sportsnet's Elliotte Friedman.

Blake acquired Dubois from the Winnipeg Jets last June in exchange for fellow forwards Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo, and Rasmus Kupari, as well as a second-round pick in this year's draft.

Dubois, who'll turn 26 on June 24, played all 82 games in his first campaign in Hollywood but failed to produce to the standard he'd set over his first six NHL seasons split between the Jets and the Columbus Blue Jackets. He collected 16 goals and 24 assists, and his average ice time of 15:42 was nearly two minutes below his previous career average of 17:37.

The Quebec-born skater scored a goal in a 7-4 loss to the Edmonton Oilers in Game 1 of their first-round playoff series. He was then held off the scoresheet entirely for the next four contests as the Oilers eliminated the Kings in five.

Dubois did post some favorable underlying numbers during the regular season, as his club controlled 53.88% of the expected goals and 53.66% of the scoring chances when he was on the ice at five-on-five, per Natural Stat Trick.

The Jets inked Dubois to an eight-year, $68-million contract shortly before sending him to Los Angeles as part of a sign-and-trade so he'd be on the books for an extra year, which the Kings weren't allowed to offer.

Anze Kopitar was Los Angeles' highest-paid forward with a $10-million cap hit this season, while Dubois was second at $8.5 million, according to CapFriendly.

Kopitar's figure will fall to $7 million in 2024-25 and 2025-26 before he's eligible for unrestricted free agency. That means unless pending restricted free agent Quinton Byfield gets more than $8.5 million in his next deal, Dubois will likely be the Kings' highest-paid forward next season. He's also under contract through 2030-31.

Dubois produced 27 goals and a career-high 36 assists in 73 games with the Jets last season. He notched a personal-best 28 tallies along with 32 helpers over 81 contests with Winnipeg in 2021-22. The Jets acquired him from the Blue Jackets for a package including Patrik Laine in January 2021.

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