The Franchise Four. The Mount Rushmore. Four players who tell the story of an organization. In this series, I’ll be taking a look at the history of all 30 NHL squads. For criteria, I’m choosing one forward, defenceman, goaltender and a wild card from any position.
Since entering the NHL in 1967, the Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cup titles in 47 seasons.
During said time frame, the Kings have iced the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Marcel Dionne, Rob Blake, Jonathan Quick, Luc Robitaille, Dave Taylor, Bernie Nicholls, Butch Goring, Anze Kopitar, Jim Fox, Charlie Simmer, Rogie Vachon, Drew Doughty, Dustin Brown and Mattias Norstrom.
So, which players make their “Franchise Four?”
4. The Goalie – Jonathan Quick
Jonathan Quick is a two-time Stanley Cup champion, besting Martin Brodeur and Henrik Lundqvist in the Stanley Cup Final. During the 2011-12 season, Quick was both an All-Star and Conn Smythe Trophy winner. While the Kings did win a second title in three seasons, Quick stood on his head in backstopping the first championship. The 2011-12 squad was bereft of scoring and seeded eighth in the Western Conference. All Quick did was post a 1.95 goals against average and a league-best 10 shutouts during the regular season. In the postseason, Quick topped all goalies with a .946 save percentage, 1.41 goals against average and three shutouts. In club history, Quick ranks first in victories (212), save percentage (.915), goals against average (2.27) and shutouts (37).
3. The Defenseman – Rob Blake
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Blake was a physical force and boasted a forceful shot. With the Kings, Blake was a four-time All-Star and winner of the James Norris Memorial Trophy in 1997-98. Blake was part of the Kings’ runner-up squad in 1992-93, recording 10 points and 46 penalty minutes. In club history, Blake ranks fourth in games played (805), first among defensemen and eighth overall in assists (333) and points (494), fourth in penalty minutes (1,231) and fifth in power-play goals (92).
2. The Wild Card – Wayne Gretzky (C)
One may argue statistically Luc Robitaille belongs here or, symbolically, Gretzky should be No. 1. Gretzky did both for L.A. and by proxy so much more for the excitement and expansion to non-traditional hockey markets. A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Gretzky boosted the fortunes of the Kings. In eight seasons with L.A., Gretzky led the league in helpers five times and points three times. Gretzky was also a seven-time All-Star with the Kings. During the 1988-89 campaign, Gretzky won the Hart Memorial Trophy. Along with that hardware, Gretzky won the Art Ross Trophy and Lady Byng Memorial Trophy three times. When the Kings reached their first Stanley Cup Final in 1992-93, Gretzky topped all postseason performers with 15 tallies, 25 helpers, 40 points, 10 even strength goals and three game-winning markers. While he doesn’t rank in the top 10 in Kings history in games played, Gretzky is sixth in goals (246), second in assists (672), fourth in points (918) and fourth in goals created (314.5).
1. The Forward – Marcel Dionne
A member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, Marcel Dionne gets the top shelf. In 12 seasons with Los Angles, Dionne was a seven-time All-Star. Dionne won a Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, Art Ross Trophy and the Ted Lindsay Award twice. Six times, Dionne netted 50-plus goals and eight times he notched 40 or more in a season. In Kings franchise history, Dionne ranks second in goals (550), first in assists (757), points (1,307), points created (507.5), even-strength goals (369), goals per game (0.60) and second in power-play tallies (172).