Pierre-Luc Dubois does not hide it: Montreal was indeed one of the places where he wanted to pursue his career. But Los Angeles too. And it appears that the GM of the Kings had more ammunition in his pocket.

This is why the saga that held an entire province in suspense is now over. Dubois heads to Los Angeles following a major trade between the Winnipeg Jets and the Kings. Dubois also signed an 8-year, $68 million contract.

The association between Dubois and the Canadian, expected for as long as the 2016 draft, will therefore have to wait at least a few years, if it ends up materializing.

“The Canadian, everyone knows, it’s a team that interested me, agreed Dubois, by videoconference, Tuesday. This is a team that we had spoken to a little. »

Dubois was obviously ready for the attention that comes with the hot Montreal market. He has also tested the waters in recent weeks, when photos that he fully assumed began to circulate. The first, notably with Cole Caufield at the Formula 1 Canadian Grand Prix. The second, with his great friend and former teammate David Savard during a CF Montreal match.

In English, Dubois lamented the swelling that surrounded his file. “The stories come out, you just stand there and you can’t talk. People say he wants this or that,” he said.

In French, however, he admitted to being well aware of what the photos were “going to do.” But “I have to live my life too. I want to have a good time with David and his family. I knew the photo would come out, but there was not much I could do. People made up their minds and at that time, there were always possibilities for it to be in Montreal. I wasn’t trying to create controversy with that. »

One of the problems for the CH is that there was simply no community of interest between what he could offer and what the Jets were looking for.

In recent weeks, a source familiar with the matter told La Presse that the Jets are looking for players ready to take on an important role now. What the Kings sent them (forwards Gabriel Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Rasmus Kupari, as well as a 2024 2nd round pick), the CH were not ready to offer.

According to journalists Pierre LeBrun and Darren Dreger, the Canadian also tried his luck until the last minute, but the Kings’ offer prevailed. Dreger clarified in the morning that “the Canadian had done everything to get back into the race, without success. Montreal was offering prospects, while Winnipeg was looking for NHL-ready players.” Rob Blake, the Kings’ general manager, didn’t seem particularly concerned when asked if he felt he was in a bid to get Dubois. “You never really know, but we knew what we could offer and we stuck with it,” Blake told media in Nashville.

In the end, Dubois felt the Kings were the team “who wanted him the most”.

“That’s the feeling I had with the Kings. As soon as I knew their intentions, it was a fairly easy choice. We talked in Montreal, but the Kings, from the start, I had a good feeling. I think I made the right decision. »

Dubois arrives in Los Angeles preceded by a certain reputation. The Blue Jackets traded him when it became clear he didn’t want to continue his career in Columbus, while in Winnipeg he made it clear to the Jets that he didn’t plan on a long-term deal with him. them.

Blake agreed that it came up in discussions with the Dubois clan. “We understand the situations he’s been in before, we know their point of view. He now arrives in a situation where he basically got to choose where he wanted to play. »

These comments contradict what Dubois then advanced in videoconference. “There was no discussion about it,” he said. The Blue Jackets traded me. With the Jets, it took me a contract and we wanted to be honest with them and tell them our intentions. »

Dubois is now anchored in Los Angeles for the long term. He has an 8-year contract, with an average annual value of $8.5 million. This contract was officially signed with the Jets just before the transaction. By doing so, Dubois was able to get an eighth year, because the Kings could only offer him, under the collective agreement, a seven-year deal.

The Jets are getting three forwards who will join their core. Vilardi, 23, is a 2017 first-round pick for the Kings. The full-size forward had 23 goals and 41 points in 63 games last season. Iafallo, on the other hand, is 29 years old and has 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 59 games. Kupari is a 23-year-old center drafted in the first round in 2018, who was looking for himself in Los Angeles. In the playoffs, against the Oilers, he averaged just seven minutes per game.

Ironically, the 2024 2nd round pick the Kings are giving up was originally the Canadiens. This choice had been ceded to the Coyotes in September 2021, when the Habs acquired Christian Dvorak. The Coyotes then offered that pick to the Kings to get Sean Durzi on Saturday.