LA Kings History: Twelve days of Christmas, number 9

LA KIngs (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports)
LA KIngs (Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports) /

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

Adrian Kempe, number 9

Adrian Kempe was assigned the number 39 when he was promoted from the Ontario Reign to the LA Kings in February 2017. The former 29th overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft later changed his number to his current number, nine. After struggling to win faceoffs consistently, the organization gave up attempting to convert him to a centerman.

"“Playing left wing lately—I can be more effective there,” he said in November 2019. “I’ve always been a winger. But when I got over here, they started playing me at center. I can be more effective on the forecheck, playing as a winger. I can get in on the forecheck and create turnovers. I get confidence from that, as well.”"

As a 21-year-old, the Kramfors, Sweden native broke out in his first full season, scoring 16 goals with 21 assists. He followed that with an underwhelming 28-point season but looked to be trending toward a bounceback season in 19-20 before the pandemic prematurely ended his season.

Kempe has two years left on his deal. With a wave of offensive prospects on the horizon, Kempe needs to have a strong season.

Tyler Toffoli scores with 00.9 seconds left

Back in late October 2017, the LA Kings were playing the Boston Bruins at the TD Garden. With both teams deadlocked at one goal apiece and 00.9 seconds left on the clock, a faceoff in the Bruins’ zone separated the two teams from free hockey. Anze Kopitar won the faceoff, sending it back to Tyler Toffoli, who then sent a one-timer past netminder Tuukka Rask for the shocking victory.

Craig Duncanson drafted ninth overall in 1985

Craig Duncanson is part of an exclusive club, in that he has been the only player in LA Kings’ history to have been drafted ninth overall in the 1985 NHL Draft. One year later, Bob Kudelski was taken ninth overall, but in the NHL’s Supplemental Draft.

The Kings have had their fair share of top-ten picks but have surprisingly never picked ninth overall since Duncanson. Hailing from Lively, Ontario, Duncanson played two seasons with the Sudbury Wolves, scoring 76 and 63 points in the 83-84 and 84-85 seasons, respectively.

The Kings have several draft ties to Sudbury — Duncanson, Kip Brennan, Dominik Kubalik, and Quinton Byfield, to name a few. Duncanson played just two games for the Kings in the 85-86 season, tallying one assist. He never played more than ten games in a season with Los Angeles.

In September 1990, Duncanson was traded to the Minnesota North Stars and was immediately flipped to Winnipeg. He played just 28 games in five years with the Kings, scoring three goals and three assists.