Written by Murat Ates, Arbon Basu, and Eric Stevens
NASHVILLE, Tennessee — As of late Monday afternoon, there was a strong impression that the Kings still controlled the Pierre-Luc Dubois lottery, but Montreal was still involved in the process.
What’s holding things back for Los Angeles, as far as we can tell, are the details of the trade.
Kevin Sheffield will do everything he can to give the Jets a chance to make the playoffs in 2023-24. Winnipeg’s exemplary business performance includes having quality young players at the helm who can help the team be competitive now and in the future as well. Los Angeles could offer a package for Dubois built around Gabriel Vilardi and Alex Iafallo. The Jets could add Jansen Harkins as part of a larger trade. There may be more parts to it than that, but Winnipeg’s main consideration is to keep it competitive.
The relatively simple conclusion here is that the Canadians could not offer Dubois what the Kings offer. They don’t have a Velarde type they’d be willing to deal with. Kirby Dash won’t be hit hard by the Canadiens, and it’s the most likely game the Jets will follow given his age and three years left on his contract at a very reasonable $3.4 million USD. Not only are the Canadiens interested in trading Dach, but none of the young baserunners on the NHL roster appear to be off limits.
Meanwhile, both teams are aware of DuBois’ contract expectations, though formal negotiations have yet to begin. Gates did not authorize the Kings nor the Canadiens to discuss the details of the contract with the interim DuBois.
It also seems plausible that the Jets are trying to pit the Kings and Canadiens against each other in an effort to increase their bid.
How can Montreal once again become DuBois’ primary target?
The Canadians deal largely in futures, which is of little interest to a team looking to retool and avoid actively rebuilding. But one thing we do know about Jeff Gorton and Kent Hughes is that they have the ability to get creative when it comes to situations like this. About a year ago around this time, they knew the Chicago Blackhawks were saving Dach but they needed a first-round pick in return, and the Canadiens’ second first-round pick in the 26th wasn’t going to happen. Thus, Gorton and Hughes traded a popular player in Alexander Romanoff, who they considered a repeat with the arrival of Kayden Goehly, and earned the New Yorkers the 13th pick.
It’s not quite the same situation, but it showed that Gorton and Hughes were able to go after the assets they were looking for despite not having the assets to make it happen. In that case, if the Jets aren’t interested in futures, maybe Gorton and Hughes can put an end to what they give the Jets to. he Rebuild to get the kind of NHL-ready talent the Jets want in this trade.
It’s the extra layer to this deal that complicates things a bit for the Canadians, and that’s the contract. We believe that if a deal is reached with the Kings, the terms of an eight-year contract that DuBois will sign with the Jets will be traded to the Kings shortly thereafter. It’s hard to say the same for the Canadians, who seem more reluctant to blow their entire salary structure for Dubois.
And then there’s this: No matter what the Canadiens want to do, this contract will make DuBois the highest-paid player on the team. How will he deal with being a Quebec player who is suddenly the highest-paid player in the Canadiens and thus considered a half-captain even if Nick Suzuki, the current highest-paid player, retains the captain’s position? How will he deal with the inevitable stress that will accompany every recession? How does that compare to what his reality would be like in Los Angeles?
These are minor concerns, but they’re very real, we’re told, when it comes to DuBois’ thought process in deciding between the two options. – Arbon Basu
What drives Los Angeles forward?
In Vilardi, and Iafallo posit the Kings have the kind of roster player Winnipeg could capitalize on the specter of some serious roster action this season.
At the age of 29, Ivalo could be used immediately as a complementary winger who could move up and down the line-up and had two years left on his contract. He was a quiet, respected veteran in the Kings locker room, and losing him would be a huge blow. But the New York native has no commercial clause, and the Kings already had two other $4 million suites in Trevor Moore and Victor Arvidson. This past December, Kings general manager Rob Blake signed Moore to a five-year extension that includes a modified 10-team no-trade clause for the 2023-24 season. Moore’s contract may be what makes Buffalo expendable now.
The centerpiece of the Los Angeles Jets’ return is Velarde, 23, who can play wing and center, and who led last season with 23 goals and 41 points in 63 games. Velarde has had back issues while developing at junior level and in the AHL and needs to continue to monitor that. But he has a natural attacking ability and could score 30 goals if he plays the top six full time which he is not currently playing in Los Angeles.
Vilardi is also an RFA with arbitration rights and a new contract is due. He’ll likely make a bridge deal, but he’ll earn more than $850,000 from the one-year deal he signed last summer. But he won’t be earning anything near Dubois’ money and could slip down the right wing (where he played mostly last season) for Winnipeg if he decides to switch from longtime Blake Wheeler.
Could Cheveldayoff be trying to acquire future assets from the Kings, especially if these two big boys haven’t been around for long? Blake clinched the spot in the second round of 2024 on Saturday by sending defenseman Shaun Dorsey to Arizona State, who racked up $1.7 million in cap space and opened up a spot on the right side for either Brandt Clark or Jordan Spencer. The Kings gave up their first two picks in 2023 as part of the Vladislav Gavrikov/Jonas Korbesalo deal, but they now have second-round picks for this year and next.
Blake may be reluctant to mortgage more draft capital as Los Angeles prepares to sit out another first-round pick Wednesday after fielding Minnesota to pick Kevin Fiala in 2022. The Kings currently only have five draft picks in this draft and in 2024. They’re also in Winning mode now for what could be the final seasons for Anze Kopitar and Drew Doughty franchises.
Although he has yet to become a major producer at the NHL level, 20-year-old Blake is no no-holds-barred for Quinton Byfield when it comes to trade talks and it doesn’t look like Cheveldayoff could cash in on a .6-5ft deal. Even if a stretch is extended, the best thing to do for Dubois and LA Velarde is a young (with an upside) scoring talent that the Kings are very comfortable with.
There are questions that come with Dubois as the star player, but Blake, who was interested when Columbus asked, is clearly interested in who will take over the starting quarterback role when the 36-year-old Kopitar starts playing. to slow down.– Eric Stephens
What’s the best game for Winnipeg from here?
Getting the most out of Dubois’ trade — and any trade that follows — will take every ounce of Cheveldayoff’s efforts. If the Kings package, which is rumored to include Villarde, Ivalo and others, is allowed, it could be a ploy to get Montreal to increase their bid. If Canadians are allowed to appear in public again, it could be a ploy to get Los Angeles to do the same.
Right now, I also don’t think the Canadians can match the Kings’ group of players who can help the Jets now and in the future. Veterans like Josh Anderson and Kristian Dvorak won’t, nor will packages based on the future.
Velarde provided the Jets with a defensively responsible young player with good hands and excellent finishing instincts. There is an idea that Velarde could become a center at the NHL level, despite his struggles at the position earlier in his career. His shooting is a plus, his touches around the net are exceptional and he thinks the game is quick enough to finish playing in traffic amidst the ice.
And do not tolerate the status of Villardi contract. He is a free agent with avec restriction that he was and is ineligible at the UFA statute jusqu’en 2027. Winnipeg is censé s’étendre au-delà de 2027 ici and maintenant, mais fait déjà au moins three seasons – et probablement quatre – de domination de la ‘Equipped.
Buffalo will give the Jets a left winger who can play on the second or third line as needed, with plenty of defensive responsibility for scoring nearly 40 points in 82 games. He’s tied for a $4 million deal this season and next.
Velarde is already a promising right winger in the second line and can excel in a good position in the second line by assisting at either end of the rink. Iafallo plays an easygoing and responsible style of hockey, which makes him a good complement to a team richer in creativity and skill. If there’s a package to be had, the Cheveldayoff will be just fine.
I don’t know what Montreal can do about it. I really like Dash as a player; I don’t understand that Montreal wants to move it. The Canadiens are also expected to pick the fifth overall in the draft. I understand that they want to make this choice. I can’t find a mix of quality young players who would help fulfill my perception of Winnipeg’s desires. If the Canadiens don’t deliver some kind of miracle show from the woods, Cheveldayoff will have to make the most of the Kings.– Murat Ates
(Photo: Jonathan Kosop/NHLI via Getty Images)