The 5 Best Los Angeles Kings of the 1990s
The Los Angeles Kings enjoyed great success in the early 1990s, winning their first and only division title in 1990-91 and reaching the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history in 1992-93.
That success didn't extend to the second half of the decade, as Wayne Gretzky and others moved on. There were however, a few all-stars, even Hall of Fame-caliber players who played for L.A. during that time.
That includes the beloved Luc Robitaille and somewhat of a controversial figure, Rob Blake.
Find out where they and others rank in the top 5 Kings of the 1990s.
Stats courtesy of NHL.com.
One of the greatest Kings of all time, Taylor doesn't quite crack the top five of the 1990s, as his best years came in the previous decade.
Drafted 210th overall by the Kings in 1975, Taylor spent his entire career with the club until his retirement in 1994.
His best season in the 1990s came in 1990-91, when he notched 53 points in 73 games. A far cry from the 90-plus point seasons he enjoyed as a member of the Triple-Crown Line in the 1980s.
You won't find Khristich on many lists honoring the best Kings of all time, as he played just two seasons in L.A.
However, he was a bright spot for the 1996 and 1997 teams, which combined for just 52 wins. Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Marty McSorley and Rick Tocchet were all traded in 1996. That year Khristich finished second to only Gretzky on the team in scoring and was first the following season.
He earned team MVP honors for his efforts in his only two campaigns with the Kings.
5. Mattias Norstrom
The Kings began to unload many of their big-name players in the mid 1990s. In one trade, they sent Marty McSorley, Jari Kurri and Shane Churla to the New York Rangers for Nathan LaFayette, Ian Laperriere, Ray Ferraro, a draft pick and of course, Mattias Norstrom.
To say Norstrom lacked offensive skill is an understatement. After all, he scored just 18 goals in his career.
However, his play in the defensive zone was second to none. At 6'2", 222 pounds, the defenseman was relentless. He out muscled opponents on the boards, blocked shots, made big hits and intercepted passes.
His dedication to the game and heart-and-soul attitude were on display throughout the late 1990s, which led to Norstrom being named the Kings captain in October 2001. He remained their leader until he was traded to the Dallas Stars in 2007.
4. Kelly Hrudey
The New York Islanders traded Kelly Hrudey to the Kings during the 1988-89 season, and he stayed in L.A. until 1996.
Known for the blue bandana he wore under his helmet, Hrudey was a fan favorite in the 1990s. He helped lead the Kings to their first division title in 1990-91 and also led the team to the 1993 Stanley Cup Final before falling to Patrick Roy and the Montreal Canadiens.
With 145 wins, he sits third on the team's all-time list and is second in playoff wins with 26. Hrudey also won two team MVP awards (1992 and 1995) which solidifies his spot on the list.
3. Rob Blake
Some Kings fans may still hold a little ill will toward the defenseman, but they cannot deny the impact he had on the ice.
Rob Blake spent the entire decade in L.A. and through the good times and bad he did it all. With a 6'4", 220-pound frame, Blake was tasked with shutting down some of the league's top players. But that didn't stop him from influencing the game offensively.
He sits seventh on the team's all-time scoring list with 494 points in 805 games. An impressive feat for a defenseman.
This past June, Blake was hired to serve as L.A.'s assistant general manager and GM of the Manchester Monarchs.
2. Luc Robitaille
Drafted way back in the ninth round, 171st overall in 1984 (the Kings selected future MLB star Tom Glavine ahead of him), Luc Robitaille went on to become one of the greatest left wingers in NHL history.
He spent 14 seasons in L.A. during three separate stints, seven of which were in the 1990s.
In 1990 he topped the 100-point mark, a feat he achieved again in 1992, before an absolutely dominating campaign in 1993. With Wayne Gretzky out for almost half the season, Robitaille took over, notching a career-high 63 goals and 125 points.
Perhaps the most beloved player in Kings history, Robitaille now serves as the team's president of business operations.
1. Wayne Gretzky
There is a reason he has a statue outside the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The greatest of all time, Wayne Gretzky accomplished a lot both individually and with the team during the early 1990s.
In 1989-90 he scored 40 goals and added 102 assists for 142 points. The next season he would top the 150-point mark for the last time with 41 goals and 122 assists for 163 points. He notched 121 points in 1991-92, but for the third consecutive season the Kings were eliminated from the playoffs by the Oilers.
In 1992-93, he played just 45 games because of a back injury but caught fire in the playoffs. In what Gretzky considers his best game ever, he scored a hat trick to eliminate the Toronto Maple Leafs in Game 7 of the Campbell Conference Final. He finished with 40 points in 24 playoff games, but the Kings ultimately fell to the Montreal Canadiens in the Final.
And, it was with the Kings that the Great One broke Gordie Howe's records for career goals and points.