Dubois is rapidly changing his perspective after joining the Caps, a year after signing a long-term contract with LA

The life that Pierre-Luc Dubois envisioned for himself a year ago no longer exists.

At the time, he had requested and received a trade from Winnipeg to Los Angeles, signed a contract for $68 million over the next eight seasons and believed he would be a big part of the Kings’ future.

Instead, Dubois had a disappointing, underproductive season and was traded again to the Washington Capitals last week for goaltender Darcy Kuemper.

Dubois turned 26 on Monday and has already been traded three times since 2021. After wanting the first and the second, the latter forced him to quickly change his perspective as he joined his fourth NHL organization.

“I don’t think anyone ever feels sorry for themselves,” Dubois said Wednesday during a video call with reporters, a year shy of the anniversary of his current contract signing. “In hockey, you learn that teams are going to do what they think is best for their team, and there’s no hard feelings about that. For me, I can take it a lot of different ways, but I choose to take it as extra motivation and get myself ready for next season.”

Dubois acknowledged that he probably didn’t need more motivation after recording just 40 points, the lowest of his career, in a full 82-game season. Kings general manager Rob Blake took responsibility for Dubois not being put in the right roles and that the situation wasn’t a good fit.

The trade gives Dubois, who was picked third overall by Columbus in the 2016 draft and traded to Winnipeg five years later for Patrik Laine and Jack Roslovic, a fresh start. Dubois is the Capitals’ latest reclamation project, coming two summers after signing another center who was the No. 3 pick and was already on his second team.

That worked out extremely well, with Dylan Strome establishing himself as a key part of Washington’s evolving core in the final years of the Alex Ovechkin era. Strome and Dubois were actually roommates when they played together on the Canadian junior team in 2017.

“I’m sure we’ll push each other, and he’ll teach me what he’s already learned,” Dubois said. “It will be a lot of fun to play with him again and get to know him again. Obviously we are at different stages of life, but it will be exciting.”

Dubois is in a phase where he is trying to get back on track. On three previous occasions he scored 27 or more goals in a season, and General Manager Brian MacLellan said when he took over that Dubois had enormous potential to become a top player because of his size, skating and hockey IQ – partly because of he is also expected to have a bigger role than in LA

“It was exactly what you want to hear as a player: how excited they are, how I can help this team in so many ways,” Dubois said of his first conversation with MacLellan. “You want to feel welcomed. You want to feel like you’re a part of it.”