He’s here, he’s there he’s every………where!
It was an eventful week for newly acquired Kings forward Pierre-Luc Dubois, who recently spent a week in Los Angeles getting accustomed to his new home. Dubois committed for eight years, so he’s got some time to get the lay of the land, but he certainly hit the ground running in his time in Southern California.
“I’ve been everywhere, it’s been great, the team has taken great care of us, showing us as much as possible, scheduling it, it’s been very clear,” he said. “It’s been great to get to know all the neighborhoods and all the areas. I’ve obviously been here before, but when you’re here to play and you have a day off, you don’t necessarily travel all around, you’re just staying close or going to one activity or something like that. It’s been great to see everything, I feel like it’s going to take a couple of years to actually get to know the area, but I had a great time.”
I’ve been here five years and I don’t think I fully know the area, PL!
The LA Dodgers and LA Galaxy might feel inclined to invite Dubois back as soon as possible – the teams went 2-0 with him in attendance, as he pointed out with a laugh. He also got the opportunity to become accustomed to his new practice facilities, as he worked out at Toyota Sports Performance Center, got to meet with Todd McLellan in person for the first time and looked at potential housing options in his down time.
There wasn’t much time to dive too deeply into anything because he was doing, well, everything. An eventful first trip as a member of the Kings organization.
“I feel like I haven’t slept or stopped in the six days I’ve been here, but it’s been really fun.”
Dubois visited with his girlfriend and both of their moms, which made the trip special for him.
What’s interesting is that Dubois committed essentially sight unseen to the Kings. This visit was a whirlwind of LA-activities, mostly being done for the first time. He had been to Los Angeles before but he’s certainly never lived here. Dubois skated at Toyota Sports Performance Center was 16 and 17 years old, when he took part in the CAA Camp held here annually for the top prospects represented by his agency. It just so happened the camp was ongoing outside the room where his interview took place. He’s practiced in El Segundo occasionally as a visiting player, but road practices and prospect camps are structured and scheduled. Moving and living is moving and living and Dubois will have the next eight years to come on that front.
He recalled back to visiting the beach and spending time with his dad on his first-ever trip, as a teenage, and he walked away with good memories. There are obvious perks that Los Angeles as a market has to offer, which makes it a desirable destination for players to live in, especially when making a choice for the prime of your career.
“There’s a lot to like about this city and this area,” he said. “Hockey is our job and our job is to go on the ice and help team win, hopefully win a Stanley Cup, but you also spend time away from the rink and this city feels like you can never be in a bad mood or if you are, you go home and everything changes. It’s been it’s been a great experience to be here, in a hockey environment at times, but also discovering the city in a non-hockey way has been fantastic and I’m looking forward to it.”
Still, ultimately a player signs for hockey reasons and coming for a week to skate with prospects is one thing. Committing for eight years is another.
The Kings obviously would not have given up the assets they did to sign Dubois to a one-year contract that took him to unrestricted free agency. He also wanted more security than just that. Still, I’m sure there was a different commitment that could have been made, but Dubois wanted the eight-year term, one which ties him to the Kings organization for his prime, starting with his 25-year-old season. While he has six years of NHL experience, he started in the league at 19 and he’s just entering what many feel to be the prime of a player.
This week was just the start of that commitment and he’s excited to get going.
“The opportunity to be able to help build and help maintain the culture of winning is something that’s really interesting,” he said. “I’m six years in, sometimes I feel young sometimes I feel old, depending on the situation, but the opportunity to build something special with this team is something I’m really looking forward to.”
What that something special is, ultimately, is to win.
While I think it’s obvious he’d like to build on and improve his own personal numbers, the goal is to do so in pursuit of a trophy at the end of the season. By investing assets to acquire Dubois, as the Kings did over the last 12 months with Kevin Fiala and Vladislav Gavrikov, the organization is openly announcing an intention of going for it. Just making the playoffs is never enough, but expectations are higher than ever when you factor in the types of moves the Kings have made here over the past couple of seasons.
As far as an agenda, Dubois says his has just one item on it.
“For me to be able to get an eight-year deal with the LA Kings, the only thing I see is to win a Stanley Cup, help us win a Stanley Cup,” he said. “I still have a lot to learn, but I feel like I’ve got a lot of experience and to be able to come to this group, help the younger guys, learn from the older guys, I feel like the number one thing on my agenda is just to win the Stanley Cup. I’m really looking forward to helping the group in whatever way I can.”
Throughout the course of his availability, Dubois spoke on a number of topics, but he also said something that stood out. Most of what he was asked about was about the past and he’s living in the present, looking towards the future.
Dubois answered questions about false rumors with grace, noting that the “most outrageous comments are the ones that get the most attention”. Probably past due on putting the “Dubois will only sign in Montreal” rumor right alongside the “Gavrikov will test free agency” rumor.
We’ll still see that narrative several times in other places and his full interview is embedded below for those looking to hear what he had to say when asked those types of questions.
What we’ll focus on here though is what’s to come.
Dubois shared that his conversation with McLellan was generally surface level for the time being. He said there wasn’t any conversation about potential linemates or systems, though it was nice to be able to interact in person, in the Kings gym, as opposed to just over the phone. He recalled it being difficult to play against the Kings under McLellan as an opponent, indicating he’s excited now to be a part of it as a teammate. He left excited about the next conversation to come, which will get more into X’s and O’s around training camp, as Dubois hits the ice formally for the first time with his teammates.
As far as what’s to come between now and then, Dubois has a charity golf tournament coming up on Thursday for the Pierre-Luc Dubois Foundation, which he has a lot of passion for. Will share his thoughts on that in a separate piece. He also said he’s planning to visit his new batterymate down the middle, Phillip Danault, next month to spend some time with him and his family. Dubois noted the two always knew each other, but never really had the opportunity to spend a lot of time together. Contracted together with the Kings through 2027, they’ll certainly have time to get acquainted.
For now, it’s back home for the remainder of the summer, with sporting events and house hunting in the rearview mirror for the time being. Dubois is excited to get back to Dodger Stadium again in September, though that’s ultimately not why he’s here. He’s here to win, the real process that begins in two-months time.