Dubois, Grundstrom, Kempe to participate in 2024 IIHF World Championships

Happy Wednesday, Insiders.

Confirming participation at the 2024 IIHF World Championships for three LA Kings – Pierre-Luc Dubois with Team Canada and the duo of Adrian Kempe and Carl Grundstrom with Team Sweden. Dubois was announced earlier in the week, while Kempe and Grundstrom were formally announced this morning.

A few notes on each guy, including past tournament history and possible motivations below!

Pierre-Luc Dubois
I like this for Dubois.

Over the weekend, Dubois committed to doing whatever it takes to improve upon his game heading into next season. It was a difficult year for him, his first with the Kings and his first on an eight-year contract. He owned it and committed to a strong summer to make sure it doesn’t happen again. A little more hockey to clear the mind from his first campaign in Los Angeles might be a good next step. Expect Dubois to be among the higher-usage players with Team Canada as one of the more veteran players on the roster. Rosters for the Worlds are always kind of a crapshoot. Teams are limited to players who either did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs or were eliminated in Round 1. Often times, players don’t want to go after 82 games, 87 in the case of Dubois and those who played the entire season for the Kings. Many times they do though and while Team Canada has a couple of bigger-name forwards, Dubois should be in line for a larger role during the tournament, perhaps even a leadership role, as he was in 2022 when he was an alternate captain.

For Dubois, this is his fourth trip to the World Championships. He represented Team Canada in 2022, 2019 and 2018. Historically speaking, he’s had a lot of success offensively, totaling 27 points (13-14-27) from 27 career games played. He earned a silver medal in both 2019 and 2022. During the latter event, he was named both to the tournament All-Star team and as a “Top 3 Player” on his respective team. His seven goals were tied for the most among all skaters while his 13 points during the tournament were tied for third in overall scoring.

From a Kings perspective, the hope here is that the tournament can bolster Dubois from a confidence perspective and start the summer off on the right foot. If it helps to do that, all the more to him.

Photo by RvS.Media/Robert Hradil/Getty Images

Adrian Kempe
Coming out of exit interviews, Kempe felt like the Kings veteran most likely to attend World Championships.

“It sucks to lose, so it’s fun to get another opportunity to play a little bit more, have a chance to win something. It would be nice to keep playing for a little bit, so we’ll see what happens.”

Sounded like a guy who was very dissatisfied with his team’s ending to the season and a guy who sees the World Championships as an opportunity to perhaps change his own ending to the season by playing for a medal.

For Kempe, this is also his fourth World Championships, his first since 2021. Kempe represented Team Sweden in 2021, 2019 and 2018, helping lead his country to a gold medal back in 2018. In total, Kempe has recorded 19 points (6-13-19) from 25 games played, but we haven’t seen modern-day Adrian Kempe at the World Championships just yet. Kempe hasn’t attended since he broke out offensively back in 2022, so coming in at just under 0.8 points-per-game playing early in his career is pretty solid. Could be a key player for Team Sweden this season and a key offensive contributor up front. Kempe’s highest-scoring tournament came in that 2018 event, when Team Sweden went 10-0, as he totaled eight points (2-6-8) from the 10 games played.

The reason I’m excited for Kempe to attend the tournament is different than Dubois. For Kempe, you could see a player who delivered all year long and throughout the playoffs, as the Kings most impactful forward in the series against Edmonton. The only LA player up front with multiple goals in the series and with four from five games, you really can’t argue with his impact. This gives him the chance to re-write his ending. He’s a guy who earned it and for that, all the support.

Carl Grundstrom
Grundstrom was not a player who we heard from during exit interviews but he’s been a regular for Team Sweden so his participation is not all that surprising.

Throughout his time in the NHL, Grundstrom has answered the call to play internationally in each of the past two seasons, with 2024 marking his third consecutive appearance at the World Championships. In total, Grundstrom has four career points (2-2-4) from 13 games played, with Team Sweden falling in the quarterfinals in each of his prior two appearances.

For Grundstrom, the reasoning is – publicly at least – a bit less defined than it seems to be for Dubois or Kempe. Perhaps it’s just a chance to play a little bit more hockey for a guy who missed the final two months of the regular season with an injury. In the playoffs, his role was limited to the fourth line and in certain games, he was used sparingly. That’s reason enough to want at least seven more games to play, heading into an offseason where he’ll be a restricted free agent. His performance here is not what his next contract will be judged on, but to get those games under his belt heading into the offseason could be a solid boost heading into next season.

Grundstrom will be international teammates with Kempe as a part of a pretty large crop of NHL players who decided to participate in the tournament for Team Sweden.

The event begins on Friday, May 10. Will post a tournament preview with full schedules, format, TV information, ETC on Friday morning, along with any further LAK commitments should there be any in the next day or two.

Photo by Andrea Branca/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

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