Hits and misses at the draft
The Los Angeles Kings proved again this season that good drafting is the basis of success. The core of the Kings' Stanley Cup championship team -- goaltender Jonathan Quick, defenseman Drew Doughty, No. 1 center Anze Kopitar and captain Dustin Brown -- all were drafted and developed by the team.
LOS ANGELES KINGS
Best first-round pick: Larry Murphy (1980) -- Murphy was the best offensive defenseman in Kings history almost from the moment he stepped onto the ice after being chosen with the fourth pick. He had 16 goals and 76 points as a rookie, 22 goals in his second season and 14 goals in his third season. But after a slow start in 1983-84, the Kings traded him to Washington. He kept piling up the points wherever he went, becoming a key part of two Cup-winning teams each in Pittsburgh and Detroit in the 1990s before retiring with 287 goals and 1,216 points on the way to the Hall of Fame.
Best pick, rounds 2-4: Rob Blake (1988) -- Little did the Kings know they were getting one of the best defensemen in franchise history when they used the 70th pick in 1988 on a college defenseman from Bowling Green. Blake became an NHL regular in 1990 and went on to pile up 240 goals and 777 points in 1,240 games, mostly with the Kings -- though he won his only Stanley Cup with Colorado in 2001. He finished his career in 2009-10 as captain of the San Jose Sharks.
Honorable mention: Michael Cammalleri (2001), Jonathan Quick (2005)
Best later-round pick: Luc Robitaille (1984) -- Robitaille is the patron saint of low-round draft choices. He filled the net as a junior while playing for Hull in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, but wasn't taken until the ninth round (five rounds after the Kings selected future baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine). Much to everyone's surprise, Robitaille continued to score in bunches -- 44 or more goals in each of his first eight seasons before being traded by the Kings in 1994. He returned to L.A. three years later and had three more seasons of between 36 and 39 goals, went to Detroit for two seasons (including a Cup win in 2002), and made a third appearance in Los Angeles before retiring in 2006 with 668 goals, the most by a left wing. He's still with the Kings as their president of business operations.
Honorable mention: Billy Smith (1970), Garry Galley (1983)
Biggest disappointment: Jens Karlsson (2001) -- The Kings took Karlsson, a big right wing, with the 18th pick. He's still active in Sweden but never came to North America. Karlsson spent six full seasons in the Swedish Elite League, then three seasons at the next level down, mixed in with time in Germany and Denmark. He returned to the SEL in 2009-10 but dropped a level in 2010-11 -- though he put up a career-high 22 goals with Boras and had 23 points in 50 games in 2011-12.
Honorable mention: Craig Duncanson (1985), Dan Gratton (1985)