Kings' Pierre-Luc Dubois talks trade requests, fan backlash ahead of Winnipeg return

The 25-year-old, who was drafted third overall in 2016, is already on his third NHL team after forcing his way out of both Columbus and Winnipeg.

Kings forward Pierre-Luc Dubois knows he rubbed a lot of fans in Columbus and Winnipeg the wrong way with a pair of polarizing trade requests that ended his respective tenures with each club.

Dubois, however, appears to have no regrets as he adjusts to life in Los Angeles.

"I knew when I asked for my trade from Columbus, I'd get criticized," he said in a recent interview with The Athletic's Murat Ates. "I knew when this situation happened in Winnipeg, I'd get criticized. I had to look at it like, 'Do I not want to get criticized but not do what I want to do … or do I want to get criticized but be happy with my life?'"

"Everybody's entitled to their opinion. At the end of the day, it's my life: I only live once. I only have one career," Dubois added.

The 25-year-old, who is already on his third NHL team after going third overall in the 2016 NHL draft, had been rumored to be on the move from Winnipeg since June 2022 when it was revealed he intended to test free agency when his contract expired in 2024.

The Jets ended up flipping him to the Kings over the summer for a haul of forwards including Alex Iafallo, Rasmus Kupari and Gabriel Vilardi along with a second-round draft pick in 2024 before Dubois inked a monster eight-year extension with Los Angeles.

Pierre-Luc Dubois will have a chance to tally his first points with the Kings in his return to Winnipeg on Tuesday. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Pierre-Luc Dubois will have a chance to tally his first points with the Kings in his return to Winnipeg on Tuesday. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The team he was traded to the Jets from, the Blue Jackets, also had issues keeping Dubois happy — under different yet somewhat similar circumstances. Prior to his fourth campaign in Columbus, Dubois was benched by then-head coach John Tortorella just five games into the 2020-21 campaign before he was flipped to Winnipeg in exchange for Patrik Laine shortly after.

Though he admits to wanting out, Dubois says the intent behind his words and feelings were "misconstrued" throughout both processes.

"A lot of times, people have the mindset that if he did this, it's because he hated that. But it's not like that at all.

"That's the main thing I would say if you asked me what I wanted people to understand: You can like two things at the same time. You can appreciate two different things at the same time."

Dubois has yet to find the scoresheet two games into his tenure with the Kings, but his next chance to make an impact will be against the Jets when he makes his return to Winnipeg on Tuesday.

"It will be special, I'm sure," Dubois said, per "I'm sure some fans will see it a little differently, but for me personally it will be special. ... To play against some teammates and friends that I have from Winnipeg, it'll be a special game."

If those boos do come, Dubois says it will change his perception "a little bit" of his tenure with the Jets.

"If they're cheering my departure, I think I'd question a little bit more my time there," Dubois said on Saturday. "But it is what it is."