In honor of the Los Angeles Kings’ upcoming 50th Anniversary season, we’re running a helpful countdown series to keep track of the days until the Kings hit the ice for Game #1 of the 2016-17 NHL regular season. It’s LA’s 50th year in the league, although it’s only their 49th season (thanks lockout), and that’s worth dedicating some webspace to.
How are we going to count down, exactly? Wait and see! Each day’s number could be a jersey number, a date, a statistic, a throwback to a significant historical moment, or something we haven’t thought of yet! It should be fun.
To start off, we’re going with the “50” that’s most familiar to hockey fans: 50-goal seasons. According to Wikipedia, the milestone has been reached 194 times, and the Kings account for 14 of those. That’s third in the NHL behind the Edmonton Oilers (thanks Wayne) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (thanks Mario). Of course, Wayne Gretzky helped the Kings a little bit too, but only three of the Kings’ 50-goal seasons occurred in years where Gretzky played a full campaign. The LA 50-goal scorers:
- Marcel Dionne (six times). Dionne is the most frequent 50-goal man in Kings history, and he did all the work in the span of seven years! Not like he was a slouch during the rest of his tenure; he tallied at least 35 in all eleven of his full seasons in Los Angeles.
- Luc Robitaille (three times): A testament to consistency, Luc’s first eight seasons were all 40-goal seasons. He never hit that mark again after leaving LA for the first time, but he enjoyed a career renaissance after coming back in 1997. 557 goals in LA gets you a statue. (Marcel only had 550 with the Kings. “Only.”)
- Charlie Simmer (two times): Degree of difficulty! Simmer scored 56 goals twice, in seasons where he played 64 games and 65 games. He easily would have set the franchise record if he’d gotten to play all 80 games, but he still might have been topped by...
- Bernie Nicholls: His 70 goals in 1988-89 are the most ever by a King. No one’s breaking that record. Not even you, Tyler Toffoli.
- Jimmy Carson: He had 55 goals in 1987-88 at the age of 19, which was good enough to merit a trade for the best player that ever lived...
- Wayne Gretzky: He only did it once in LA. Guess he decided that racking up 100 assists three times would be more fun than scoring 50 goals.
Stay tuned for Day 49, coming tomorrow, and the rest of our countdown as well!