The Los Angeles Kings were one of six teams to join the NHL during the 1967 Expansion. Nine years later, they became the 10th franchise to have a player score 50 goals in a season.
The team now has six members in the 50-goal scorer club: Marcel Dionne, Charlie Simmer, Luc Robitaille, Jimmy Carson, Wayne Gretzky and Bernie Nicholls.
Six-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 53 goals in 80 games during the 1976-77 season.
Scored 59 goals in 80 games during the 1978-79 season.
Scored 53 goals in 80 games during the 1979-80 season.
Scored 58 goals in 80 games during the 1980-81 season.
Scored 50 goals in 78 games during the 1981-82 season.
Scored 56 goals in 80 games during the 1982-83 season.
Marcel Dionne was selected second overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1971 Draft. He made his debut that season and recorded 77 points in 78 games. In his fourth and final season with the Red Wings in 1974-75, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy recipient scored 47 goals and racked up 121 points in 80 games.
While the 5-foot-8 Canadian-born center was emerging to be one of the league’s best, it still wasn’t enough for the Red Wings to have any sort of success. Dionne was traded to the Kings in the summer of 1975 after voicing his frustration of losing. The transaction turned out to be a poorly executed move by Detroit as the young superstar made a huge impact in Los Angeles.
In the 1976-77 season, Dionne became the first player in franchise history to score 50-plus goals in one season. The crafty speedster recorded five-consecutive seasons of 50-plus goals to highlight his 11-year tenure with the Kings. Although the team was showing playoff consistency every year, Dionne still wasn’t satisfied.
Once he noticed a downfall in the organization, the two-time Ted Lindsey Award beneficiary refused to be a part of a rebuild. This led to a trade with the New York Rangers during the 1986-87 season. He spent two more seasons with the Rangers, making the playoffs both times, but eventually retired in 1989.
After a phenomenal 18-season NHL career, Dionne ranks fifth in goals (731), sixth in points (1,771) and hat tricks (28), and 11th in assists (1,040) as of 2019. Dionne never got to hoist a Stanley Cup, but the “Little Beaver” was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992. He was named one of the “100 Greatest NHL Players” in history in 2017.
Two-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 56 goals in 64 games during the 1979-80 season.
Scored 56 goals in 65 games during the 1980-81 season.
While Dionne racked up his third 50-goal mark with the Kings, there was only one player that scored more than him that season: Charlie Simmer.
The 6-foot-3 left winger was drafted 39th-overall by the California Golden Seals in 1974 and came to the Kings during 1977. He didn’t touch The Forum ice until the middle of the 1978-79 campaign.
The next two seasons highlighted Simmer’s career. Although he missed significant time due to injuries, Simmer had back-to-back seasons with 56 goals, thus becoming the second King to reach the 50-goal milestone. Simmer was known for his scoring and power-play finesse, which greatly contributed to the success of the “Triple Crown Line.”
Alongside Dionne and Dave Taylor, the unstoppable trio combined for 328 points in the 1980-81 season. They made NHL history by having each player record over 100 points in the same season.
Related: Remembering the Los Angeles Kings’ Triple Crown Line
Simmer was traded to the Boston Bruins in 1984 and continued his success in the City of Champions. He earned the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy the following season. Simmer finished his career with the Pittsburgh Penguins after the 1987-88 season and ranks second in shooting percentage (22.3).
Three-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 53 goals in 80 games during the 1987-88 season.
Scored 52 goals in 80 games during the 1989-90 season.
Scored 63 goals in 84 games during the 1992-93 season.
With Dionne and Simmer were finishing up their careers, Luc Robitaille was just getting started. Due to his poor skating ability, the 6-foot-1 left winger was drafted 171st-overall in 1984 by the only team that kept tabs on him: the Kings.
It didn’t take long for the Canadian to make himself known as he had a successful rookie season by scoring 45 goals in 79 games in 1986-87. After the Kings were eliminated during the 1987 Stanley Cup Playoffs, Robitaille claimed the Calder Memorial Trophy – the only King to ever receive the honor.
He then exploded for 53 goals in the following season to become the franchise’s third 50-goal scorer. Momentum rolled on as Robitaille scored 40 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons, with his career-high of 63 (in 84 games) coming in 1992-93.
In that same season, Robitaille assumed the captain role as Gretzky was sidelined with an injury. As a result, the Kings reached the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history, but ultimately lost to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.
Robitaille spent the mid-90s with two different organizations after the Kings failed to make the 1994 Playoffs: the Penguins and Rangers. He saw career-lows in goals and assists in the three seasons spent with both teams but turned things around after he returned to the Kings in 1997. Robitaille scored 30 or more goals in three-consecutive seasons – however, the Kings were still not presenting his best chance of becoming a Stanley Cup champion.
In 2001, the free agent signed a two-year contract with the Red Wings with the intention of hoisting Lord Stanley. He scored 30 goals and helped lead the team to his first championship in 2002.
Nearing the end of his career, Robitaille returned to the Kings for a third time for two seasons. He announced his retirement in April 2006. In addition to a championship on his NHL resume, Robitaille ranks fourth in power-play goals (247) and 12thin goals (668).
The Kings retired his No. 20 in 2007 and he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame two years later. Robitaille eventually got his LA championship as the president of the organization in 2012 and 2014.
One-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 55 goals in 80 games during the 1987-88 season.
Just like Robitaille, Jimmy Carson also notched a 50-goal season with the Kings in 1987-88. The Michigan native was drafted by the organization second-overall in the 1986 Draft. During his prime, the teenager scored 36 goals in his rookie season and 55 the following season to establish himself as a young dominant player.
Carson was a part of the shocking transaction, known as “The Trade,” that sent him to the Edmonton Oilers and brought Gretzky to Los Angeles. He recorded 100 points in his first season in 1989-90.
The 6-foot-1 center spent four seasons with the Red Wings before returning to the Kings in 1992. Unfortunately for him, he was not able to get back to his prime. Carson retired in 1996 with the Hartford Whalers and set out on a new career path as a financial advisor.
One-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 54 goals in 78 games during the 1988-89 season.
Also happening in the 1980s and 1990s was witnessing hockey’s greatest player. Gretzky, also known as “The Great One,” signed as an underage free agent with the Indianapolis Racers of the World Hockey Association. He made his NHL debut with the Oilers in 1979 and skyrocketed from there.
In each of his first nine seasons, Gretzky scored 40 or more goals, with his career-high of 92 coming in 1981-82. He also racked up 200-plus points in four of his nine seasons with the Oilers.
Related: Edmonton Oilers’ 50-Goal Scorers
The Canadian led Edmonton to four championships before being traded to the Kings in the summer of 1988. To no surprise, Gretzky hit the 50-goal milestone in his first season in a Kings uniform. He was known for putting hockey on the map for the city of Los Angeles.
Furious with ownership and the Kings’ playoff drought, Gretzky demanded a trade in 1995. He finished the 1995-96 season with the St. Louis Blues before spending his last three seasons with the Rangers.
Gretzky retired in 1999, and to this day he still leads in many offensive categories, including goals (894), assists (1,963) and points (2,857). He was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame that same year, only becoming the 10th player to evade the three-year waiting period. No. 99 was retired league-wide in 2000.
One-Time Member of the Kings’ 50-Goal Club
Scored 70 goals in 79 games during the 1988-89 season.
While Gretzky was being Gretzky and making an impacting on the city of Los Angeles, he wasn’t the only player to reach the 50-goal mark in the late 80s. Bernie Nicholls, selected 73rd-overall by the Kings in the 1980 Draft, spent eight and a half seasons with the organization and turned out to be a key player on the offensive end.
His last full season with the team was the highlight of his career. With Gretzky on the roster, the 6-foot center scored 70 goals and recorded 80 assists for 150 points. Nicholls was traded to the Rangers during the 1989-90 season. After that, he spent his career jumping from team-to-team.
He played with the Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Chicago Blackhawks and San Jose Sharks until he retired in 1999. He returned to the Kings organization as a coaching consultant in 2012 and won his first Stanley Cup.
Gretzky and Nicholls remain the last Kings to make the 50-goal club.