It’s the Fourth of July, meaning it is only natural to look back at the top-five best American players in Los Angeles Kings history.
Usually, a list like this would be a top-ten, but the Kings don’t have a history of stellar American players, so a top-five seemed more appropriate.
Jimmy Carson had an interesting career. He was drafted second overall by the Kings in 1986 and came out of the gates firing.
He scored 37 goals and 79 points in his rookie year which made him a Calder Trophy finalist behind Luc Robitaille who won the award.
He followed that season with 55 goals — a record for most goals by an American player in one season — and 107 points. One of the league’s best young players at the time, he then packaged in a monster trade that brought Wayne Gretzky to Los Angeles.
After another 100-point season in Edmonton, Carson fell away, only posting more than 30 goals and 60 points in one season. He returned to the Kings for parts of two seasons but wasn’t the same player. He finished his Kigns career with 219 points in 219 games. His lack of longevity with the team kept him off this list.
Matt Greene was a big-time contributor to the Cup wins but just wasn’t a good enough player at his peak to feature in this list.
A personal favorite, Greene was a bully on the ice and played a huge role in giving the Kings their identity during the Sutter years.
#5 Trevor Lewis:
The only current Kings player to make this list, Trevor Lewis spent 10 seasons with the Kings before signing with the Winnipeg Jets in 2020.
After one season in Winnipeg and two in Calgary, Lewis is a King once again.
He was never a star in Los Angeles, but he was a crucial bottom-six figure during the team’s two Cup runs. A record seven-time winner of the team’s Unsung Hero Award, Lewis makes this list on longevity and hard work.
His 674 games played is second amongst American players and 10th most overall. Lewis was a Swiss Army knife for Darryl Sutter, he could play in any position anywhere in the lineup and excel.
This versatility combined with his nonstop motor made him a fan favorite during his time in Los Angeles.
Originally drafted 17th overall by the Kings in 2006, Lewis has put together a solid career that will span over 900 games.
#4 Tony Granato:
Tony Granato didn’t have the longevity of Trevor Lewis but he was a star during his time with the Kings.
A hard-nosed, skilled goalscorer Granato scored 148 goals and 305 points in 380 games for the Kings.
Granato spent two seasons as the team’s alternate captain from 1992-1994. His best season came in the 1992-93 season where he posted 37 goals and 82 points, adding 17 points in 24 playoff games en route to the team’s first Stanley Cup Final appearance.
He hit 60-or-more points and 100-or-more penalty minutes in the same season three times during his six seasons with the Kings.
His 305 points place him second amongst American Kings players and 20th overall.
#3 Alec Martinez:
Alec Martinez could feature on this list off the back of his Cup-winning goal alone, but there’s more to him than that.
Another member of both Cup-winning teams to feature on this list, Martinez was fantastic for the Kings during this era.
More of a depth defenseman for the Kings, Martinez played the same game he does today. He blocked a lot of shots, was responsible in his own zone and a solid puck mover.
Martinez’s best individual years came after the two Cup runs as he moved into a top-four role. He posted a career-high 39 points in the 2016-17 season and he finished eighth in the league with 167 blocked shots. He followed that season with 206 blocked shots in 2017-18, good for second in the league.
Martinez was traded to the Vegas Golden Knights in 2020 during the Kings’ rebuild where he just won his third Stanley Cup.
With 597 games in a Kings sweater, Martinez comes in at number three here.
#2 Dustin Brown:
Coming in at number two is Dustin Brown. He’s the all-time leader in games played — although Anze Kopitar will take that title soon — seventh in points and sixth in goals.
He also leads all of those categories for Americans. Of course, he was also the first and only captain to lift the Stanley Cup in a Kings jersey.
Brown embodied the Sutter era Kings. He was one of the league’s most physical players and had the skill to match it. A staple on the top line next to Anze Kopitar for more than a decade, Brown deservedly received a statue outside of Cypto.com Arena earlier this year.
He served as captain from 2008-2014 and then was an alternate captain from 2018 until he retired in 2022.
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 33 goals and 60 points. However, his best performance for the Kings came in the 2012 Cup run where he finished with 20 points in 20 games to lead the Kings to a Cup victory. His 20 points tied Kopitar for the league lead in 2012.
Brown finished his Kings career with 712 points in 1296 career games a team legend.
#1 Jonathan Quick:
One of the greatest American goalies in league history, let alone Kings history, Jonathan Quick takes home the number one spot here.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Quick’s performance in the 2012 playoffs is the best playoff performance by a goalie ever.
Quick finished those playoffs with a .946 save percentage, a 1.41 goals against average, 13.3 goals saved above average and a Conn Smythe Trophy. He was unbeatable in those playoffs.
A two-time Jennings Trophy winner and two-time Vezina finalist, Quick is far and away the greatest Kings goalie of all time.
His 743 games played is 354 more than the next-closest goalie and his career .911 save percentage is better than any goalie with more than a season’s worth of games played.
Quick didn’t get the same send-off as Brown as he was traded at last season’s deadline for Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo. And he has now signed with the New York Rangers for what is likely his last season.
But he’ll still go down as a Kings legend, he’ll have his jersey retired and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him receive a statue as well.