Wayne Gretzky's 94 points in 60 playoff games as a King make his minus-5 rating forgivable. His post-season exploits were just one of the reasons all Kings players wore his jersey during warmups on the night the team retired his jersey, on Oct. 9, 2002. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images/NHLI)
The Los Angeles Kings have qualified for their second Stanley Cup final and first since 1993. Which players in the franchise’s 45-year history have been the best post-season performers? That’s the focus of this week’s THN.com Top 10.
10. Bernie Nicholls
Nicholls played the first half of his 18-year NHL career in L.A. and scored 327 goals and 758 points in 602 regular-season games for the Kings – and in the playoffs, he was nearly as much of a point-producer, posting 16 goals and 37 points in 34 games.
9. Kelly Hrudey
Some of his playoff totals (including a 3.53 goals-against average and .883 save percentage) with the team aren’t all that admirable, but Hrudey has 10 more post-season wins (26) with L.A. than the next best Kings netminder (Jonathan Quick, 16) and was patrolling the pipes when L.A. made it to the ’93 Final.
8. Daryl Evans
Now a Kings broadcaster, Evans played only 113 regular season and 11 post-season games, but he always will have a place in Kings playoff history thanks to his overtime goal that won the famous ‘Miracle On Manchester’ game against Wayne Gretzky’s Oilers.
7. Jonathan Quick
Quick was the most valuable player of the Kings’ 2011-12 regular season and is making a strong case as playoff MVP this spring. With two shutouts in these playoffs, he’s already tied with Felix Potvin for the all-time franchise lead (three) and is tops among all qualified playoff leaders this year in GAA (1.54) and SP (.946) after three rounds.
6. Dave Taylor
A Kings legend and member of the famous Triple Crown line, Taylor logged more games for the franchise (1,111) than any other player and sits third overall in L.A.’s playoff goal-scoring (26) and point production (59) in 92 career post-season matches.
5. Dustin Brown
The current Kings captain has been brilliant this post-season, notching a league-best nine assists and seven goals in 14 games. He’s played only 26 career playoff games, but is amassing offense at a near point-per-game pace (23 total points) and consistently inspires his teammates with his physical play.
4. Tomas Sandstrom
The Swedish winger was a major component in the Kings’ 1993 Cup finalist team, finishing third behind teammate Gretzky and Toronto’s Doug Gilmour in total points (25 in 24 games) that post-season.
3. Marcel Dionne
LA’s all-time leading point-getter and Hall of Famer wasn’t quite as prodigious in the playoffs, but in the 43 post-season games he did play, Dionne had 23 assists and 43 points.
2. Luc Robitaille
No King has more regular season goals than Robitaille’s 557 – and none has scored anywhere close to the 41 playoff goals he accumulated in a franchise-record 94 post-season games. Robitaille also has a team-best nine playoff game-winning goals; the next-best King in that department (Gretzky) has five.
1. Wayne Gretzky
It should come as little surprise the greatest hockey player of all-time also tops of the team’s list of playoff performers. Gretzky had 65 assists and 94 points in just 60 post-season games as a King. Incredibly, The Great One was a minus-five in those games, but nobody will complain about his stint in L.A.
The THN.com Top 10 appears Wednesdays only on TheHockeyNews.com.