Revisiting Wayne Gretzky’s Time With the Los Angeles Kings


Wayne Gretzky, the biggest participant in hockey historical past. When individuals speak about him, they often speak about his immense talent, his accomplishments, or how he led the Edmonton Oilers’ 80s dynasty. His time with the LA Kings often isn’t the very first thing that involves thoughts.

The Trade

On August 9, 1988, the unthinkable occurred. The Oilers traded Gretzky to the LA Kings. The commerce was Gretzky, Marty McSorely (D) and Mike Krushelnyski (C/LW), for Jimmy Carson (C), Martin Gelinas (LW), the Kings first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993, together with $15 million in money.

The 1988-89 season

Gretzky made an instantaneous affect in LA. In his first season with the Kings, he scored 54 targets (fourth in the league) and put up 114 assists (tied with Lemieux for first). Overall, his 168 factors completed second in the league and had been adequate to safe him the Hart Memorial Trophy. His nice play helped Bernie Nicholls (C/RW) have an offensive explosion, posting profession highs in targets (70) and factors (150).

Bernie Nicholls (Photo by B Bennett/Getty Images)

Gretzky additionally obtained ice time with Kings legends Luc Robitaille (LW) and Dave Taylor (RW) in the 1988-89 season, and heading into the playoffs the Kings had the potential to make a run. In the first spherical, the fourth-seeded Kings defeated Gretzky’s former crew, the Oilers in seven video games. In the second spherical, the Calgary Flames swept LA, en path to their first (and solely) Stanley Cup. He performed on a line with Nicholls and Chris Kontos (LW) in the playoffs. He posted 22 factors in 11 video games, whereas Kontos scored 9 targets and Nicholls had 16 factors.

1989-90 Season

Gretzky had a stellar marketing campaign in his second season in LA, placing up 142 factors (40 targets and 102 assists) in simply 73 video games performed. His 142 factors and 102 assists each led the league in every respective class, which secured him the Art Ross Trophy. His most spectacular accomplishment was breaking Gordie Howe’s level file on October 15, 1989 (from ‘The Greatest Gretzky,’ The New York Times, 10/15/1989).

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Nicholls was traded this season, regardless of having 75 factors in 47 video games, leaving Gretzky to play on a line with Tomas Sandstrom (RW) and Tony Granato (LW), who was acquired in the Nicholls’ commerce.

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In the first spherical of the playoffs, LA defeated Calgary in six video games, eliminating the crew that had knocked them out of the earlier three playoffs. In the second spherical, the Kings had been swept by the Oilers, who went on to win their solely Stanley Cup with out Gretzky. The Great One posted 10 factors in the seven playoff video games that he performed in, and Granato and Sandstrom each had 9 factors in 10 video games.

1990-91 Season

Gretzky scored 41 targets and added 122 assists for a complete of 163 factors. He solely had 16 penalty minutes this season, which allowed him to win the Art Ross and Lady Byng Trophies. His linemates had been as soon as once more Granato and Sandstrom, who acted as “the tough guys” of the line, each having over 100 penalty minutes. Sandstrom posted a career-high 89 factors and Granato had 64. The Kings beat Vancouver in six video games in the first spherical of the playoffs, however they as soon as once more misplaced to Edmonton, as the Oilers defeated them in six video games in the second spherical. Gretzky posted 15 factors in 12 video games.

1991-92 Season

For the first time in his profession, Gretzky posted lower than 137 factors. In the 1991-92 season, he had a league-leading 90 assists and posted 121 factors. He received one other Lady Byng Trophy after racking up simply 34 penalty minutes. His linemates consisted of a mixed of Sandstrom, Granato and Jari Kurri (RW), whom was introduced in by the Kings in the low season. (From ‘Kurri Joins Gretzky as a King,’ Los Angeles Times, 05/31/1991).

At the commerce deadline, LA acquired one other considered one of Gretzky’s former teammates, in considered one of the all-time nice defensemen, Paul Coffey, at the commerce deadline in a three-team commerce. (From ‘Kings Go for Coffey in Trade,’ Los Angeles Times, 02/20/1992).

Jari Kurri Finnish HHoF
Jari Kurri (photograph courtesy Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame)

The Kings completed second in the Campbell Conference and met up with the third-seeded Oilers in the first spherical. Ironically, Nicholls led the Oilers to a win towards his former crew, as he put up 13 factors in the six-game sequence. Gretzky was tied with Coffey and Robitaille for the crew lead with seven factors.

1992-93 Season

The 1992-93 season was arguably the most profitable season the Kings had with Gretzky on the crew. Although they completed third in the Campbell Conference, the Kings made a deep playoff run. Gretzky spent the season on a line with Robitaille and Kurri; nonetheless, he was injured for a lot of the season. In 45 video games performed, he had 65 factors. Kurri put up 87 factors, and Robitaille led the line placing profession highs in targets (63), assists (62) and factors (125).

Luc Robitaille Los Angeles Kings
Luc Robitaille (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios through Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

In the first spherical of the playoffs, LA confronted Calgary. Their high-scoring offense led them via this sequence, as the Kings scored 9 targets in each Games 5 and 6. Gretzky’s line dominated this sequence. Following successful by Joel Otto, the Kings positioned grinders in Warren Rychel (LW) and Tomas Sanderson on his line. (From ‘Former Hawk Rychel finds home on Gretzky’s line,’ Chicago Tribune, 05/23/1993). Gretzky, Rhychel and Sanderson had been the Kings’ three main level scorers in the sequence.

In the second spherical, LA upset the Vancouver Canucks in six video games. Gretzky led the Kings in factors with 13 on this sequence and performed with a group of various gamers.

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In the third spherical, LA met up with the Toronto Maple Leafs in a seven-game traditional. The groups break up the first 4 video games, and Toronto received Game 5 in extra time to take a 3-2 sequence lead. In Game 6, the Kings received off a controversial name. Gretzky high-sticked Doug Gilmour in extra time and the refs missed the name. A minute later Gretzky scored the game-winner to power a seventh and closing recreation. In Game 7, Gretzky scored three targets and added an help to guide the Kings to a 5-4 win over the Leafs, and to the Stanley Cup Final.

Patrick Roy and Wayne Gretzky
Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final at the Great Western Forum, Los Angeles, California, June 7, 1993. (Photo by Scott Levy/Getty Images)

In the Stanley Cup Final, the Kings’ luck ran out, as they had been steamrolled by the Montreal Canadiens in six video games. Patrick Roy was unbeatable, posting a .929 save share in the sequence, which was unparalleled in the 90s. He received the Conn Smythe Trophy for his efforts. Gretzky led the playoffs in targets (15), factors (40) and was tied for first in assists (25) with Gilmour.

The Dark Days, 1993-96

Gretzky’s closing three seasons in LA had been highlighted by crew failure with Kings lacking the playoffs in all of those seasons. In 1993-94, they’d a dismal file of 27-45-12. Despite this, Gretzky received the closing Art Ross Trophy of his profession, by posting 130 factors and a league-leading 92 assists. His 20 penalty minutes additionally secured him the Lady Byng Trophy. He additionally broke Gordie Howe’s aim file on March 23, 1994, by scoring his 802nd aim. He spent the majority of the 1993-94 season on a line with Kurri and Robitaille.

In the 1994-95 season, Gretzky had 48 factors in 48 video games performed. LA posted a file of 16-23-9 in the lockout-shortened season and missed the playoffs by a single level. Gretzky spent this season taking part in with a rotating roster of wingers, however he often performed with the Arizona Coyotes former head coach Rick Tocchet (RW) and Kurri.

1995-96 was Gretzky’s final closing season with LA. He spent most of this season taking part in with Dmitri Khristich ( RW) and rookie Vitali Yachmenev (LW). Gretzky put up 81 factors in 62 video games with the Kings. On February 27, 1996, he was traded to the St. Louis Blues for a first-round decide, Roman Vopat, Craig Johnson, Patrice Tardif and a fifth-round decide in 1996.

Gretzky’s Time in LA Was Very Important

Gretzky’s time in LA was primarily good for the group. Upon his commerce to the Kings, ticket gross sales went via the roof. By the time he was dealt by the Kings, two extra NHL franchises existed in California; the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the San Jose Sharks. He received quite a few awards with the Kings and led them to their first Stanley Cup Final look. Although his tenure wasn’t as profitable in LA as in Edmonton, he did tons for the recreation of hockey in California and the United States, whereas attaining nice private success.

Stats are per Hockey Reference and HockeyDB

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