LA Kings History: Twelve days of Christmas, number 11

LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
LA Kings (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

As part of the twelve days of Christmas, the LA Kings have a rich history pertaining to each number. Up next is number eleven.

Anze Kopitar is likely the first player in LA Kings‘ history when thinking of the number 11. In fact, he was drafted 11th overall in the 2005 NHL Draft. The Jesenice, Slovenia native scored 20 goals with 41 assists in 72 games during the 2006-2007 season, finishing fourth in Calder Trophy voting. Following the 2015-2016 campaign, in which he scored 25 goals with 49 assists while also taking home the Lady Byng and Selke Awards, Kopitar was named the Kings’ captain.

Entering the upcoming season, the 33-year-old is currently fourth all-time in franchise history in goals scored (333), assists (617), and games played (1073). As previously noted here, Kopitar has a great opportunity to move up the leaderboards with a strong 2021 campaign.

2004 regular season collapse

During the 2003-2004 season, the LA Kings were trending towards making the playoffs in two of the last three seasons, but an 11-game losing streak to close out the regular season pushed the Kings out of a playoff spot. That year, Los Angeles registered 81 points but came up ten points shy of qualifying for the eighth seed in the Western Conference.

Mike Murphy, 11th all-time in games played

Drafted by the New York Rangers with the 25th overall pick in the second round of the 1970 NHL Draft, Mike Murphy spent a year and a half with the Rangers before the LA Kings acquired him. Once in Los Angeles, Murphy began a run of three consecutive seasons, in which he tallied at least 61 points. From there on, his point production declined linearly until his last season in 1982-1983. Murphy’s 673 games played with the Kings are good for 11th all-time in franchise history.

Gabe Vilardi drafted 11th overall in 2017

One of the more recent historical moments in Kings’ history. The LA Kings drafted Gabe Vilardi with the 11th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. The Kingston, Ontario native tallied 29 goals with 32 assists for the Windsor Spitfires in his draft year. Returning from a back injury, Vilardi was promoted to the NHL at the end of last season, scoring seven points in ten games.

Marcel Dionne spent 11 years as an LA King

At 5-foot-9, Marcel Dionne paved the way for forwards under six feet tall. He was the second overall pick in the 1971 NHL Draft by the Detroit Red Wings, spending four seasons there before his rights were traded to the LA Kings after the 1974-1975 season. From 1975-1976 to the 1986-1987 season, Dionne racked up 550 goals with 757 assists while earning four All-Star selections. After spending his final two and a half seasons with the Rangers, Marcel Dionne retired from the NHL. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1992.

Jonathan Bernier drafted 11th overall in 2006

Like Kopitar and before Vilardi, the LA Kings took goalie Jonathan Bernier with the 11th overall pick in 2006. Jonathan Quick was selected in the third round the previous year. Bernier was tabbed as the Kings’ netminder on Opening Night of the 2007-2008 season. He played just four games in the NHL that year, three the following season, and never played more than 25.

By that point, Quick had established himself as LA’s goalie of the future. He won a Stanley Cup in 2012, and following the 2013 season, Bernier was traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs for Matt Frattin, Ben Scrivens, and a second-round pick.