With the NHL Entry Draft just a month away, the Los Angeles Kings will have a chance to add depth and youth to their system. For a team that historically has struggled, it’s not surprising that the Kings were known as a team willing to give up draft picks and prospects for veteran players.
It’s no surprise that by the early 2000’s a change in philosophy was needed as the Kings had won one playoff series after 1993. It took a complete redo and emphasis on keeping draft picks for the Kings to finally reach the elite status of the NHL.
During their two Stanley Cup runs of 2012 and 2014, those teams were comprised of 13 players taken in the draft by the Kings.
Before we start looking at who will the Kings will be looking at in next month’s draft, let’s look at some of their best draft years in their history.
Los Angeles Kings Draft History
The 1980 draft yielded some of the Kings best players from the 1980’s. They became key members from some of the best moment of the decade. Larry Murphy was a slick defenseman the Kings took with their 1st pick and 4th overall of the draft. He only played three years with the Kings but still remains in the top 10 in goals, assists, and points for Kings defensemen.
The Kings second pick of the first round at number 10 was Jim Fox. Fox was a solid winger for the Kings playing 10 years and he remains 10th in points in team history. After his playing career, Fox joined the teams television broadcast team and has remained there to this day.
Bernie Nicholls, a fourth round pick, is probably the best of this bunch as he was the Kings best pure goal scorer before Wayne Gretzky arrived. He still holds the record for the most goals in a season with 76 in 1989. Daryl Evans, like Jim Fox, parlayed his playing career into broadcasting for the Kings, he currently is the team radio analyst. He’s memorably known as the player who scored the game winning goal in overtime of the “Miracle on Manchester” game.
The Kings had the fourth pick in the draft in 2007 and some how screwed it up by taking Thomas Hickey. Hickey played a grand total of zero games for the big club before being waived in 2013. There were four all-stars taken after that pick and P.K. Subban was taken in the second round.
But the Kings made up for it by taking two forwards and a defenseman that directly lead to the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championships. Simmonds developed into a skilled two-way forward that was part of the Kings emergence from playoff purgatory in 2010. His greatest contribution, though, was as a trade piece in 2011 that brought Mike Richards over from the Philadelphia Flyers that summer. The blockbuster trade brought the young Kings veteran leadership that lead to the 2012/14 cup wins.
King was a big checking forward that flashed occasional skill. In the 2012 playoffs, he chipped in 5 goals and 8 points. Two years later, he did better getting 11 points helping the Kings win their two Stanley Cups.
Alec Martinez is one of the the top Kings defensemen in terms of goals scored and points in team history. Martinez is most known for by scoring the series winning goal in overtime of the 2014 Western Conference Finals and the 2014 Stanley Cup Finals.
The Kings 2008 Draft year on paper doesn’t look great. But two picks in the first two rounds make it the second greatest draft year in Kings history.
Drew Doughty is undoubtedly the greatest defensemen in Kings history. in his time with the Kings he’s been part of two Stanley Cup wins, been a 4x all star, a four time Norris Trophy finalist as the best defensemen in the league winning it in 2016. By the time he’s done he’ll own every record for Kings defensemen in the regular season and postseason.
LA Kings All-Star defenseman Drew Doughty has been nominated for the James Norris Memorial Trophy 🏆https://t.co/3G6jnma39T
— LA Kings ⛳️ (@LAKings) April 19, 2018
Despite his abhorrent domestic violence case that got him deported and kicked off the Kings, you cannot discount the contributions of Slava Voynov in Kings history. Voynov was a skilled puck controlling defensemen, his call up in 2012 enabled the Kings to trade Jack Johnson to the Columbus Blue Jackets to add scoring forward Jeff Carter. These two moves propelled the Kings to their cup winning years.
Only two players from the 2005 draft have played any games for the Kings. However, those two players more than most, are the reasons the Kings are two time Stanley Cup Champions. With their first pick, the Kings made history by taking the first Slovenian taken in the draft.
Anze Kopitar would become perhaps the third greatest center in team history after Wayne Gretzky and Marcel Dionne. He lead all players in scoring during the Stanley Cup runs, he was the first Kings player to win the Selke Trophy as the leagues best defensive forward. Kopitar is also a finalist for the Hart Trophy as league MVP.
Jonathan Quick is simply the greatest goaltender in Kings history. Quick leads every category for goalies in team history. But the American netminder steps his game up even more when it comes to the playoffs. His 46 wins are the most in team history by a good 20 wins. In 2012. Quick won the Conn Smythe trophy as playoff MVP after setting a record for save percentage .946 becoming just the third American to win the trophy.
Kopitar and Quick alone make 2005 the greatest draft year in Kings history.