LA Kings’ 1,000 Game Club

With Drew Doughty set to become the fifth player in Los Angeles Kings’ history to play 1,000 games for the organization, I’ve decided to look back at the four other players to have reached that milestone. Doughty also becomes one of three current Kings to have played 1,000 games with the organization, while the other two players who have reached the mark are retired.

Dustin Brown

The franchise’s all-time leader in games played is current alternate captain Dustin Brown. After Thursday’s game, Brown will have played in 1,273 games for the organization across 18 seasons. At the time of writing, he has 702 points, good for the seventh-highest total in team history and 322 goals, putting him in fifth place. At 37 years old, he is in the twilight of his career, currently residing in the team’s bottom six, but he was once one of the league’s best power forwards. During the 2007-08 season, he led the NHL in hits, with 311, and scored a career-high 33 goals. That style of play was Brown at his best, punishing on the forecheck, with the skill to score plenty of goals.

Dustin Brown Los Angeles Kings
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

He took over as team captain for the 2008-09 season, leading an exciting young group of players. In 2012, he became just the second-ever American-born captain to hoist the Stanley Cup, and the first Kings captain to do so. With 20 points in 20 games, he was tied for the team lead in points that playoffs. In 2014, he once again lifted the Cup over his head, becoming the first American-born captain to win the trophy twice. Heading into the final season of his contract, his future is still up in the air, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Kings re-sign him. Few players have done more for the organization than Brown, and it would be fitting to ensure he retires as a King.

Anze Kopitar

Just behind Brown is Anze Kopitar, with 1,172 games played at the time of writing — he also has 1,037 points. In his 17 seasons with the team, he has been the team’s best player in nearly all 17. Since being the first Slovenian player drafted in 2005, Kopitar has been an elite center in the NHL, winning two Selke Trophies and one Lady Byng. A dominant two-way force, he blends incredible playmaking with defensive solidity that only a few forwards in the league can match. Many fans still feel he was underrated in his prime and that he would have more hardware if he played in a bigger market. Taking over as captain from Brown in 2016, Kopitar has been the backbone of this team for a long time.

Anze Kopitar Los Angeles Kings
Anze Kopitar, Los Angeles Kings (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

His best season came in 2017-18, where he put up an impressive 92 points, 31 more than the next closest King. His best performances have arguably come in the playoffs, as he was a point-per-game player in both the 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup wins and was the driving force behind both teams. At 34 years old, he is still the team’s best forward, currently leading the organization with 37 points in 43 games. His defensive impact has dropped off a bit this season, but he is still a magnificent two-way player. If he can continue this level of production for a few more seasons, there’s a real possibility that he passes Marcel Dionne and becomes the team’s all-time leader in points. If he is able to achieve this, he has a case to be considered the greatest player in franchise history, to go along with a Hall of Fame induction.

Dave Taylor

The former all-time games played leader — before Brown and then Kopitar passed him — Dave Taylor comes in with 1,111 games played. The former 15th-round pick is still the lowest drafted player to ever register 1,000 points in the NHL. Playing his entire career in a Kings jersey, Taylor registered 1,069 points in 17 seasons, earning a Bill Masterson and King Clancy Trophy in 1991. He was famously a member of the “Triple Crown Line” alongside Marcel Dionne and Charlie Simmer. Taylor, Dionne, and Simmer all registered more than 1,000 points during the 1980-81 season, with Taylor scoring a career-high 112. In his prime, Taylor was a complete player who could play any role. He could score, he could pass, and he brought a ton of physicality and grit. Hall of Fame radio play-by-play broadcaster Nick Nickson likened his game to current forward Dustin Brown.

Dave Taylor LA Kings
Dave Taylor, Los Angeles Kings (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

Unfortunately, concussions forced Taylor to retire during the 1993-94 season, but he did not leave the organization after retirement. He became the assistant general manager in 1994 and also took on the role of director of player development in 1995. By the 1997-98 season, he took over as general manager, holding the position until Dean Lombardi took over in 2006. While Lombardi did a lot of the front office work that brought the Kings their first two Cups, it was Taylor who laid the foundation. He was the general manager when the team drafted most of their cornerstone pieces, including Brown, Kopitar, and Jonathan Quick.

Related: Kings’ Top 5 All-Time Draft Steals

Taylor left the organization before they could win a Cup, but he was able to win his first Stanley Cup in 2019 as the vice president of hockey operations with the St. Louis Blues. He still holds a position with the Blues, stepping down as the vice president of hockey operations this season, becoming a senior adviser. Taylor is one of six players who had their numbers retired for the Kings and is rightfully considered a team legend for both his contributions on and off the ice.

Luc Robitaille

Just above Doughty, with 1,077 games played, sits Luc Robitaille. One of the most dominant scorers of his era, Robitaille registered 50 or more goals in three seasons, 40 or more in eight straight seasons from 1986-1994, and 30 or more in 12 seasons. In the 1992-93 season, he hit a career-high in both goals and points, scoring 63 goals and 125 points. He won the Calder Trophy in 1987 with 45 goals and 84 points in his rookie season. Despite being a subpar skater, Robitaille had no problem scoring goals, incredible hockey IQ, an elite shot, and a willingness to get into the dirty areas of the ice that allowed him to bury 668 career goals. He spent time with the New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Detroit Red Wings, where he won his first Stanley Cup in 2002.

Luc Robitaille Los Angeles Kings
Luc Robitaille, Los Angeles Kings, Jan. 13, 2004 (Photo by Bruce Bennett Studios via Getty Images Studios/Getty Images)

After retiring in 2006, he stepped straight into a front-office role with the Kings, becoming team president in 2007. As president of the team, he won two more Stanley Cups, and is now in the back end of a rebuild, which should see the team compete for another Cup soon. He put together a Hall of Fame playing career and has the potential to be one of the league’s best executives if he and general manager Rob Blake can successfully turn this team into a dominant force once again. Like Taylor, Robitaille has his number retired and is rightfully considered a team legend.

Doughty Joins Elite Company

When Doughty officially breaks the 1,000-game mark on Thursday night, he will become the first defenseman in team history to reach that milestone and will join an incredible group of players who have played 1,000 games for the Kings. He’s arguably the team’s greatest ever defenseman and will have a serious case to make the Hall of Fame when he does eventually retire. It’s easy to take for granted how lucky Kings fans are, getting to watch such an incredible player for so many games, but this milestone will help put it into perspective.

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