In the early days of expansion, the city of angels pursued “name” hockey players just like New York City. Because of it, most of the early stars for the Los Angeles Kings were acquired for picks and prospects. It did not go well in the standings.
Rogie Vachon was a helluva goalie, and Marcel Dionne (above photo) was an exceptional offensive talent. The universal draft was introduced in 1969, but the Kings didn’t make a first round pick until 1975. They acquired the following players for all of those first round picks:
- 1969: LAK dealt their first round pick in ’69 (Minnesota acquired it from Montreal and used it on D Dick Redmond) and ’72 (that turned into Steve Shutt) to Montreal for Goaltender Gerry Desjardins, who would turn into a journeyman goalie through the 70s.
- 1970: LAK got C Skip Krake and Boston acquired the draft pick that turned into Reggie Leach. Krake was a solid checking C and Leach was a featured sniper on one of the 70s best teams.
- 1971: LAK got L Ross Lonsberry (a fine 2-way winger) and L Eddie Shack. Boston got first round picks in 1971 (Ron Jones) and 1973 (Andre Savard, who had a solid NHL career).
- 1972: see 1969.
- 1973: see 1971.
- 1974: LAK acquired D Bob Murdoch (a good defender) and L Randy Rota (a fleet forward who couldn`t score enough to stay) for the first round pick that Montreal used on Mario Tremblay (who played a role on the Stanley teams in Montreal during the late 70s).
So, in a 6 year span LAK acquired G Gerry Desjardins, L Ross Lonsberry, L Eddie Shack, C Skip Krake, D Bob Murdoch and L Randy Rota. They gave up the picks that turned into:
- 1969: D Dick Redmond (771 NHL games)
- 1970: R Reggie Leach (934 NHL games)
- 1971: D Ron Jones (54 NHL games)
- 1972: L Steve Shutt (930 NHL games)
- 1973: C Andre Savard (790 NHL games)
- 1974: R Mario Tremblay (852 NHL games)
Wow. No matter what happens to Kings fans moving forward, their distant past serves as a cautionary tale for any NHL team. Hold on to your first round picks.
One of the interesting things about this team is EV scoring. For some, the start of this season has been exceptional and for others it’s been less than zero. I think Gagner is finding the range a little and that should bode well for a third scoring line (well, you know what I mean) and the Hemmer is on this road trip and that’s all kinds of good. Here are the forwards 5×5/60 from behind the net:
- Ales Hemsky 3.47
- Ryan Smyth 2.94
- Jordan Eberle 2.71
- Taylor Hall 2.37
- Ryan Nugent Hopkins 2.18
- Ryan Jones 1.66
- Shawn Horcoff 1.54
- Lennart Petrell 0.64
- Eric Belanger 0.47
I don’t think there’s much we can say about Sam Gagner, Magnus Paajarvi, Linus Omark, Anton Lander, Ben Eager and Darcy Hordichuk based on a few games (even fewer for Gagner, Omark and Hordichuk) but some seem to be a little worried about Paajarvi. Last year he scored at 1.36/60 rate 5×5, so based on his current 5×5 playing time (about 2 hours) he’s 3 total points behind the curve. I think we can assume he’ll drift back toward the median soon.
The keys (I think) are Smyth and Hemsky. The kids will see their numbers drop as the club heads out on the road, and that Smyth-Horcoff line plus Hemsky when he returns will need to deliver in tough situations.