I wanted to take a trip back to observe the best draft year in Kings history.
The date; June 11, 1980.
Location: The Montreal Forum.
LA Kings Draft Position: 10th (out of 21).
The Kings had two first round draft picks that year. Their pick (at 10th overall) and the 4th overall pick which they obtained from Detroit for Dale McCourt and the rights to Rogie Vachon. The Kings also received Andre St. Laurent and Detroit's 1st round pick in 1981, which turned out to be the 2nd overall pick in the draft that the Kings used to select Doug Smith.
So with their first pick, fourth overall in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft, the Kings selected defenseman Larry Murphy. He was ranked the 3rd best prospect by the NHL's Central Scouting Bureau. He is probably the best defenseman the Kings ever drafted, and he would last only three full seasons as a King before being dealt at the tender age of 22.
With their second 1st round selection at 10th overall, the Kings selected Jim Fox. He has now been with the Kings' organization for 25 years since the day he was drafted!
The Kings had two 2nd round selections at 33 and 34 and selected Greg Terrion and Dave Morrison.
In the 3rd round the Kings would select Steve Bozek, who had an excellent rookie season scoring 33 goals and 56 points. Oddly enough, that was his best season in the NHL and he never came close to those numbers and would last only one more season as a King.
With their 4th round selection, 73 overall, the Kings selected one of the most exciting players to grace a Kings' uniform; Bernie Nicholls. He still holds the record for most goals scored in a season by a King with 70 goals in '88-'89. He was another player who was said to be a poor skater, but boy could he shoot the puck and find the back of the net from virtually any angle.
In the 5th round they selected some nobody who would never even earn a callup to the NHL; Al Graves.
With their 6th round pick, the Kings selected goaltender Darren Eliot. He currently serves as the color commentator for Atlanta Thrashers broadcasts. He has also served as an insightful columnist for NHL.com and CNNSI.com.
The Kings would select a couple of other minor leaguers with their 7th and 8th round picks, a couple of good Irish lads; Mike O'Connor and Billy O'Dwyer.
In the 9th round, the Kings would select "Miracle on Manchester" hero and current Kings radio broadcaster, Daryl Evans. He never settled to become a regular NHLer, but he will always be remembered by Kings fans.
With their final pick in the draft in the 10th round, the Kings would select Kim Collins, who attended and played for my alma mater. I just realized, the Kings have selected or acquired quite a few players from Bowling Green (Galley, Blake, Emerson, Bylsma, M.Potvin...). Maybe they should look there again to uncover some hidden gems (like Jonathan Matsumoto).
The Kings haven't had that much success from one draft year since then. But in recent memory, the 2000 draft stands out with Frolov and Visnovsky being selected that year.