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Kopitar’s First Five Seasons

The forward's start ranks among the best ever in franchise history

Monday, 08.15.2011 / 12:27 PM / Features
By Jeremy Zager  - LAKings.com Staff Writer

Anze Kopitar’s first five seasons with the Los Angeles Kings rank among the best first five-season segments ever put together by a Kings forward. If he stays on his current pace, Kopitar - under contract with the Kings through the 2015-16 season - will take his place among the greatest players to ever play for the Kings.

Best First Five Seasons In Kings History - Forwards

Goals
1
Luc Robitaille
241
Marcel Dionne
241
3
Dave Taylor
188
4
Wayne Gretzky
182
5
Bernie Nicholls
165
6
Ziggy Palffy
150
7
Charlie Simmer
148
8
Anze Kopitar
138
Assists
1
Wayne Gretzky
477
2
Marcel Dionne
321
3
Dave Taylor
254
4
Luc Robitaille
244
5
Anze Kopitar
220
Points
1
Wayne Gretzky
659
2
Marcel Dionne
542
3
Luc Robitaille
485
4
Dave Taylor
442
5
Bernie Nicholls
374
6
Anze Kopitar
358
Power-Play Goals
1
Luc Robitaille
76
2
Marcel Dionne
66
3
Dave Taylor
55
Charlie Simmer
55
5
Bernie Nicholls
53
6
Anze Kopitar
46
Short-Handed Goals
1
Wayne Gretzky
13
2
Ziggy Palffy
10
3
Bernie Nicholls
9
4
Glen Murray
8
Yanic Perreault
8
Jari Kurri
8
7
Anze Kopitar
7
Eric Belanger
7
Pat Conacher
7*
Mike Murphy
7
Game-Winning Goals
1
Marcel Dionne
28
2
Luc Robitaille
25
3
Ziggy Palffy
24
4
Alexander Frolov
23
5
Mike Murphy
22
6
Dave Taylor
20
7
Charlie Simmer
19
8
Wayne Gretzky
17
Tony Granato
17
Don Kozak
17
11
Jozef Stumpel
16
12
Anze Kopitar
15
Tomas Sandstrom
15
Bob Berry
15

* achieved in four seasons

Kopitar, the first-ever native of Slovenia to play in the NHL, was selected by the Kings in the first round (11th overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. The 6-3, 227-pounder has yet to reach his 24th birthday (August 24, 2011), but he’s served as an alternate captain on the Kings ever since the 2008-09 season, and he’s been a Kings fan favorite ever since he scored two goals in his NHL debut at Anaheim on October 6, 2006.

Kopitar has twice represented the Kings at the NHL All-Star Game (2011 and 2008) and once at the NHL’s YoungStars Game (2007).

Kopitar has won the Kings Bill Libby MVP Award three times (2011, 2010 and 2008), the team’s Best Defensive Player Award once (2011), the team’s Most Popular Player Award twice (2011 and 2007) and the team’s Mark Bavis Memorial Award as Best Newcomer once (2006).

Kopitar established a new team record by appearing in 330 straight games from March 21, 2007 to March 26, 2011. He surpassed the former record holder, NHL Hall of Famer Marcel Dionne, who logged 324 straight games with the Kings from January 7, 1978 to January 9, 1982.

No Kings center has ever appeared in more games during his first five NHL seasons (2006 to 2011) than Kopitar, who has 393 career appearances.

Overall, Kopitar and Hall of Famer and Kings President/Business Operations Luc Robitaille are tied for the most games played in their first five seasons with the club. Robitaille skated at left wing in 393 games with the Kings from 1986 to 1991.

Kopitar’s plus-25 rating last season ranks as the sixth-best single-season total by a Kings center in team history. The plus-25 rating is also the best plus/minus rating recorded by a Kings center since NHL Hall of Famer Wayne Gretzky finished with a plus-30 rating during the 1990-91 season.

Over the past five seasons, the Kings are 77-30-10 when Kopitar scores a goal in a game. The Kings were 18-3-0 when Kopitar scored a goal last season.

Kopitar has scored 20 or more goals in each of his first five NHL seasons. The last Kings player to do that before Kopitar was Robitaille, who scored 20-plus goals in eight straight seasons (1986 to 1994).

Kopitar has led the Kings in scoring for four straight seasons. The last player to accomplish this in a Kings uniform was Gretzky, who led the Kings in scoring during each season from 1988 to 1992.

Only one other player in team history attempted more shots in his first five seasons with the Kings than Kopitar, who has 1,120 career shot attempts. Dionne attempted 1,711 shots while with the Kings from 1975 to 1980.

The following is a breakdown of where Kopitar ranks all-time among Kings centers, and all time overall in key statistical categories:

 
Kopitar
Centers
Overall
Games
393
7th
29th
Goals
138
5th
16th
Assists
220
5th
12th
Points
358
5th
12th
PPG
46
5th
10th
SHG
7
T-6th
10th
GWG
15
7th
18th
Shots
1,711
5th
11th