Buyout candidate could look to rebuild his street cred in Toronto

Dean Chaudhry
June 14, 2024  (6:09 PM)

Pierre-Luc Dubois going around the net in the offensive zone against Adam Henrique and the Edmonton Oilers.
Photo credit: Perry Nelson - USA Today Sports

If Pierre-Luc Dubois is indeed bought out by the Los Angeles Kings, the Toronto Maple Leafs should look to secure his services on a prove-it-deal for 2024-25.

The Florida Panthers surprisingly have the Edmonton Oilers on the brink of elimination - and a sweep - in the Stanley Cup Finals. The other 30 clubs will be preparing anxiously for the first buyout window which will open 48 hours after the Finals are over.
With the salary cap rising to $88 million and providing the biggest jump in over 5 years, there are plenty of teams that will be looking to alleviate even more cap pressure though the buyout period. Last year, 9 player were bought out, including Matt Duchene and Oliver Ekman-Larsson. This year's crop could include players like Dubois, Barclay Goodrow, and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, among others.
Dubois is by far the most intriguing player on the list provided by Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli. The former 3rd overall pick from the 2016 NHL Entry Draft has gone through the ringer over his 7-year career that has already spanned 3 different NHL clubs.
After being drafted by the Columbus Blue Jackets, Dubois scored 66 goals and 159 points in 239 games played before being shipped out to Winnipeg in a blockbuster deal that included the 2nd overall pick from the aforementioned draft in Patrik Laine. He improved steadily with the Jets as he scored 63 goals and 143 points in 195 games played across parts of 3 seasons.
He was then traded to the Los Angeles Kings last summer in exchange for 3 players and a 2nd round pick and was then immediately signed to an 8-year deal worth $68 million in total. After just one season, the Kings are mulling through the idea of buying him out. According to CapFriendly, a buyout would stretch all the way to the 2037-38 season, but they would save well over 50% of his cap hit for the following 7 seasons, including savings of $6.9 million in the next 2 seasons each.
Dubois seems to be a head case at times because wherever he's played, chaos ensues. Either he's not trying hard enough, he's playing lackadaisically, or he's butting heads with his coaches. The talent is assuredly there but it's hard to believe that there are any teams in the NHL that would be willing to sign him long-term, let alone a bridge deal.
If bought out, Dubois should look for a prove-it-deal on the open market. If there's anyone that needs to prove their worth, showcase their skill and talent, and show front offices that he's a team player, it's him. He also wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, considering the fact that he'll be paid by the Kings until 2037-38 and if that is the case, the Maple Leafs should look to bring him into the fold on a one-year deal.
Adding the 6'4, 220-pound centreman would beef up the top-6 and add another skilled player into the mix. Dubois has scored 27+ goals on 3 occasions and enjoyed his best run in 2021-22 and 2022-23 when he scored 57 goals and 123 points in 157 games played. Flanked with players like William Nylander, Mitch Marner or Matthew Knies could provide Dubois the opportunity to finally break out and reach the 30-goal plateau and 70-point milestone for the first time in his career.
The Maple Leafs have more cap space on hand than they've had in recent years and while they will be looking to bolster their backend, looking to add a cheaper top-6 centre in his prime should be a top priority - should he be bought out.
Source for the buyout information: Daily Fsceoff, CapFriendly
Kings' Pierre-Luc Dubois among nine buyout candidates in 2024 NHL offseason,
Source for Pierre-Luc Dubois' stats: Hockey-Reference
Pierre-Luc Dubois
14 JUIN   |   280 ANSWERS
Buyout candidate could look to rebuild his street cred in Toronto

Should the Maple Leafs look to sign Dubois if he is bought out?

Yes, but it can't be for more than 5 million6523.2 %
No, he's a head case and won't mesh with Berube13648.6 %
Tough to tell, he has the talent but seems lazy7928.2 %
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