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Pierre-Luc Dubois: the length of the playoffs could dictate whether his contract is bought out
Credit: Capture d'écran / Screenshot

Last summer, the Los Angeles Kings wanted to make a big splash. To do so, they talked to the Jets… and brought Pierre-Luc Dubois to town.

It cost a lot in players (Gabe Vilardi, Alex Iafallo and Rasmus Kupari) and money (he signed an eight-year, $68 million contract), but he promised to make life difficult for the Oilers, who had eliminated the Kings from the playoffs two years in a row.

In the end, though, the Kings once again fell to the Oilers this spring. In the process, Dubois finished the season with just two goals in his last 21 games, an unsatisfactory performance for a player who earns $8.5 million a year.

Of course, the Kings will be hoping that the next few years will be more encouraging for the man still under contract for seven years…

Unless the club decides to cut ties with him this summer, and one factor could influence a lot of things in that direction: the length of the current playoffs.

What you need to know is that, under normal circumstances, a contract buyout involves a penalty of 2/3 of the amount remaining on the player’s contract. However, if the player is under 26 at the time of the buyout, the club’s penalty is only 1/3 of the remaining contract.

Dubois is currently 25, but will turn 26 on June 24. And since the window to buy out contracts opens 48 hours after the last game of the finals (which can end no later than June 24), it could be a race against time for the Kings.

So, if the Kings intend to buy out Dubois’ contract, they must hope that seven-game series become rare by the end of the playoffs. And in the finals, it doesn’t have to drag on forever.

Should the Kings decide to buy out PLD’ s pact before June 24, it wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing for them. The salary penalty for 14 years would hurt, but apart from between the 2026-27 and 2030-31 seasons, the bill would never exceed $2 million a year.

In fact, there would be three more difficult years between 2027-28 and 2029-30, when the bill would climb to just under $4 million a year, but even then, that’s a lot less than $8.5 million a year.

Beyond June 24, though, buying out Dubois’ contract wouldn’t make much sense. The smallest amounts would be in excess of $2 million a year, while the most difficult seasons would see us approaching $5 million a year.

If there is a buyout, it will be before June 24 (unless the Kings are really, really fed up with Dubois).

(Credit: Screenshot/CapFriendly)
But in reality, one thing is clear: the mere fact that the possibility of a contract buyout is being raised after the first year of an eight-year pact shows that PLD has not delivered the goods for the Kings this season.

It’s not for nothing that Tony Marinaro would rather undergo a root canal than see the Habs pick up Dubois this summer, even for bad contracts.

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