The Starting Six series comes to you to dive into the best player at each position all-time for every organization. The biggest and best at each position, with the most memorable moments in franchise history. Here is the Los Angeles Kings all-time lineup.
Starting Six: Los Angeles Kings All-Time Lineup
The Los Angeles Kings came into the league in 1967 in an expansion which added six new teams to the NHL. Since their entrance into the league the Kings have seen lots of regular season success, a slew of Hall of Fame players, and two Stanley Cup wins. The 70’s and 80’s were full of seasons with talented players and strong play that was wasted by early postseason exits. The early 2000’s was filled with poor play and a lack of success. However shortly after, the Kings were able to win two Stanley Cups in 2012 and 2014. Although the Kings have had mixed seasons, they have always had greatly talented players. Let’s take a look at the best players at each position in Kings history.
Center: Wayne Gretzky (1988-96)
The Great One. There is no greater player in the history of the NHL. He is the undisputed best player to ever live and will sit on that throne for years to come. Although Gretzky did not play his whole career for the Kings, his impact on the franchise and city are insurmountable. He made hockey popular in Southern California and generated a buzz and liking to the sport that has never been seen before. He drew large sell out crowds and is credited for beginning to put non-traditional hockey markets on the map.
Aside from his impact on the community, his play and success is the greatest that has ever touched the center ice position for the Kings. In his first year, he lead the Kings to their best season to date where they upset his former Edmonton Oilers team in the Conference Finals. With the Kings he posted over 900 points in eight seasons, including 246 goals. Gretzky was a Hall of Fame inductee in 1999. He goes in as the all-time leader in goals (894), assists (1,963), and points (2,857). He is the only player in NHL history to have his number 99 retired by all teams. Although the Kings did not win while Gretzky was with them, leaving him off the list of their greatest players would be a terrible mistake.
Although Gretzky had a more productive and longer career in Edmonton, he is the best and most polarizing player to ever play in LA. However, had the Great One not played for LA, Marcel Dionne would be the center on this list. He is an all time great who ranks sixth all time with 1,771 points.
Left Wing: Luc Robitaille (1986-94, 1997-2001, 2003-06)
Robitaille is currently the President of the Los Angeles Kings. Before that, he was one of the best left wingers to ever play the game. He certainly is the best left wing to ever play for the Kings. In his career, Robitaille amassed 1,394 points. He split his point total between 668 goals and 726 assists. His goal total is good for 12th all time. There is no question that his game was polarizing and his numbers astounding. Robitaille has his number 20 retired by the Kings and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
He played 14 years for the Kings over three different stints and holds many franchise records. After being drafted in the ninth round in 1984, Robitaille was able to retire as the highest scoring left wing in NHL history. He, along with former teammate Dave Taylor, are the lowest drafted players ever to record over 1,000 career points. Although Robitaille never won anything with the Kings, he truly embodies and defines the franchise.He was always a fan favorite while playing and has done tremendous work while in the front office as well. He has had incredible achievements for the Kings, on and off the ice.
Robitaille ranks first in Kings history in goals, second in games played, fourth in assists, and second in total points. As a player he was an eight-time All Star and won the Calder Trophy. In the front office he has won two Stanley Cups with the franchise. Robitaille is truly one of the greatest to play the game and his profound impact on the Kings makes him their all time best left wing.
Right Wing: Dave Taylor (1977-1994)
Dave Taylor wraps up the forward line for the Kings all time lineup and rightfully so. Taylor goes down as the Kings leader in games played with 1,111. He had his number 18 retired by the club and was a big part of the team throughout his whole career. He is the lowest drafted player in NHL history, along with Robitaille, to have over 1000 career points (he was drafted in the 15th round in 1975). Although his stats are not as grand as some, Taylor played a long and productive career in LA. Even though he is not in the Hall of Fame, he is ranked third in points, goals, and assists in Kings franchise history. He finished his career with 431 goals, 638 assists, and 1,069 points.
Taylor spent his full career in LA and was consistently a big part of the team playing with quality players. He had the fortune of playing with the Great One as well as many other talented centers. He was the third member of the famed “Triple Crown Line”. Taylor, Marcel Dionne, and Charlie Simmer played together from 1979-1984. They were known for their outstanding production and success as a line. In 1981, all three players posted one of the best seasons among linemates, as they all scored over 100 points. In addition to playing for this great line, Taylor also was the captain of the team for some time. Consequently, Taylor was a King through and through and put together an astounding career with his only team.
Right-Handed Defense: Rob Blake (1990-2001, 2006-08)
Rob Blake is undoubtedly the best defenseman to ever play for the Los Angeles Kings. Throughout his two stints with the club, Blake was a consistent defensive stud while also bringing an advanced and productive offensive game. Because of his great success, his number four is retired by the club. Blake is one of the most popular and beloved Kings players and his impact on the team goes beyond his play.
Blake is ninth all time on the Kings scoring list and first among defenseman. Over his career with the Kings he totaled 494 points in the form of 333 assists and 161 goals. He made a profound impact right away as he was a part of the NHL All Rookie Team in his first year in the NHL. Two years later, he helped guide the team to the 1993 Stanley Cup Finals, where they would eventually lose. Blake also became the Kings 11th captain in franchise history after Wayne Gretzky was traded in 1996. He strongly held the position from 1996-2001. Although Blake was a great leader and teammate, his play was superb as well. He consistently had seasons of 30-plus assists and won the Norris Trophy for the league’s best defenseman in the 1997-98 season.
Blake’s outstanding career led to his eventual induction into the Hall of Fame in 2014. He is truly one of the greatest to lace the skates up and has proven to be an essential part of the Kings organization. He not only played for them, but is now in the front office. Blake currently serves as the team’s general manager and vice president and was a part of the 2014 Stanley Cup win as a member of the front office.
Left-Handed Defense: Steve Duchesne (1986-91, 1999)
Finding a left-handed defenseman to fill the Los Angeles Kings all-time lineup was tough. The Kings have had plenty of solid players, but this task remained difficult. Duchesne may come as a surprise to some, but his numbers and play would indicate that he belongs. No, he was not the most popular or polarizing player, but he was talented. And although his time with the Kings was not long, he is their third highest scoring defenseman and the first that shoots with their left. His numbers as a King were 315 points from 216 assists and 99 goals.
Duchesne ranks 18th all time for the Kings in scoring. He did all of this after failing to get drafted and signing as a free agent. In his rookie season he was a part of the All Rookie Team. A couple years later he lead all defenseman in short handed goals. Duchesne wasted no time in establishing himself as an above average offensive threat. His phenomenal offensive play and steady defense cements him as the best left-handed defensman for the Kings over the likes of Mark Hardy, Lubomir Visnovsky, and Mattias Norstrom.
Goalie: Jonathan Quick (2008-Present)
Jonathan Quick is one of the best goalies in the league right now. He has been for basically his whole career. Quick is a spectacular athlete and a goalie who always makes the impossible save. He provides the Kings with stability and the confidence to play their game. Quick is without a doubt the best goalie to play for the Kings. Although Quick is the man getting the nod for the all time lineup, there has been plenty of solid goalies. Rogie Vachon and Kelly Hrudey were both excellent for the Kings, but this spot is for Quick.
Quick still has a good amount of stellar play left in him and he all ready is the winningest goalie in Kings history. He has 260 wins, a .916 save percentage, and a 2.26 goals-against-average. His numbers are ridiculous and if he remains healthy, will only get better. He holds many Kings records including career and single season shutouts. Quick is also a huge part of the Kings Stanley Cup wins where he put up excellent numbers both years. In 2012, after winning their first cup, Quick was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for Playoff MVP. During that postseason he went 16-4 with an unheard of 1.41 goals-against-average, a .946 save percentage, and an impressive three shutouts.
Quick rounds out the Kings all time lineup, and rightfully so. He has had an illustrious career and is a big part of their recent success. He finishes up an extremely talented starting six that have all made the Kings the great franchise they are today.