Ranking the Top 5 Offseason Moves in Los Angeles Kings History
Many of the Los Angeles Kings' biggest moves in recent years have come at the trade deadline.
The most recent was the trade for Marian Gaborik, while Jeff Carter was picked up two years ago to help the Kings win their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.
However, the Kings also have a history of making significant moves in the offseason. This includes trades featuring high-profile players and some draft selections that have led to championships.
This is a closer look at the Kings' best offseason moves ever.
5. Drafting Jonathan Quick
It's a draft pick that's already paid off in the biggest way and should continue to pay off more over the next seven or eight years.
In the past five years, Jonathan Quick has been one of the best goaltenders in the world, perhaps second to only Henrik Lundqvist. The difference is Quick has two Stanley Cup titles and a Conn Smythe Trophy.
In the 2011-12 playoffs, Quick finished 16-4 with a .946 save percentage, 1.41 goals-against average and three shutouts in what was one of the most dominant playoff performances ever by goaltender.
Drafting Quick 72nd overall in 2005 was one of the best decisions in franchise history.
4. Acquiring Luc Robitaille
Luc Robitaille is one of the greatest Kings and left wingers ever. He had three stints with the team, and while the first two moves to acquire him were very different, both were steals for L.A.
First, they selected him 171st overall in the 1984 draft. He spent eight years with the Kings, topping the 100-point mark in four of those seasons. He was a key player in the Wayne Gretzky years, helping the Kings reach the 1993 Stanley Cup Final.
Robitaille was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins after the 1993-94 season, which led to one of the best deals in Kings history.
Dave Taylor's first big move as general manager was trading Kevin Stevens to the New York Rangers for Robitaille. Lucky Luc scored at least 36 goals in three of his four seasons during his second stint with the club. He notched 74 points in the 1998-99 and 1999-00 seasons and 88 points in 2000-01.
Robitaille had a major impact in the 2001 playoffs, helping the seventh-seeded Kings upset the Detroit Red Wings in the first round.
3. Drafting Anze Kopitar
The 2005 NHL draft is known for being the Sidney Crosby sweepstakes. What's often forgotten is Anze Kopitar was selected 11th overall in that draft. Besides Crosby, Carey Price may arguably be the only player who should have been drafted before Kopitar.
Kopitar continues to be one of the most underrated players in hockey. At 6'3", 224 pounds, Kopitar does it all. He has elite playmaking skills, great vision, excellent defensive awareness and a strong shot.
In each of the Kings' Stanley Cup runs, Kopitar led the playoffs in scoring, averaging a point per game.
At just 26 years old, the Slovenian center already ranks seventh on the Kings' all-time points list. If he maintains his current pace, he shouldn't have a problem passing Gretzky.
Kopitar is a unique player and was one of the primary forces behind the only two championships in franchise history.
2. Trading for Marcel Dionne
It's a trade that came to define an era in Kings history.
On June 23, 1975, the Kings acquired Bart Crashley and the rights to Marcel Dionne from the Detroit Red Wings in exchange for Terry Harper, Dan Maloney and a second-round draft pick.
Calling this transaction a steal would be an incredible understatement.
Marcel Dionne ranks fourth all-time with 731 goals and fifth all-time with 1,771 points. The majority of his production came from his time with the Kings. Dionne would spend parts of 12 seasons in L.A. and was the key piece of the Triple Crown Line, which also included Dave Taylor and Charlie Simmer.
Crashley would play just four games for the Kings, while Harper and Maloney went on to have a few average seasons in Detroit.
This is a trade that would rank at the top of the list for most teams, but not the Kings.
1. The Trade
On August 9, 1988, one of the biggest trades in hockey—and sports—history occurred.
Wayne Gretzky, Mike Krushelnyski and Marty McSorley came to L.A. from Edmonton for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, a first-round pick in the 1989 draft (later traded to the New Jersey Devils), a first-round pick in the 1991 draft, a first-round pick in 1993 and about $15 million.
Gretzky changed the way hockey was viewed in California and much of the southern U.S. He brought instant credibility to a team that had always taken a backseat to the Lakers and other sports teams in the area.
He never disappointed on the ice, notching 918 points in 539 games in L.A. He left a great legacy in Edmonton that included four Stanley Cups. He didn't win one in L.A., but his impact is still being felt to this day.
There hasn't been a deal like it since and there probably won't be for years, if ever.
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