They see me rollin'. They hatin'.
- Jul 28, 2004
In a whirlwind offseason, the Kings' tornado of trades, made ostensibly to create cap space in order to re-sign a defenseman and finally nail down a legit No. 1 goaltender, all led to general manager Rob Blake's biggest investment yet in … a center? With only one rostered goalie, Blake prioritized an extension for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and then exchanged three roster players, including the emergent three-zone force Gabe Vilardi, and a high second-round pick for the privilege of signing former Winnipeg Jets center Pierre-Luc Dubois to a weighty eight-year, $68 million contract. Dubois augments a cadre of pivots that already included captain and leading scorer Anze Kopitar; 2022 team MVP and alternate captain Phillip Danault; spark plug and emotional charge Blake Lizotte; and 2020's No. 2 overall pick Quinton Byfield, who spent the stretch run of last season as a left wing.