Esso Hockey since 1936Legends Of Hockey
Esso Hockey since 1936
Robitaille, Luc

Robitaille, Luc

Robitaille was born in Montreal, Quebec, in 1966. He played his junior hockey with the Hull Olympiques in the QMJHL and had 85 points in 70 games in his rookie season. In the 1984 NHL Entry Draft the big story was not Robitaille but another Quebec kid, Mario Lemieux, who was the top pick overall. Los Angeles selected Robitaille after 170 other players, the ninth player the Kings chose that year.

Robitaille began to prove the experts wrong with his play in Hull. He worked on his skating and made the QJHML Second All-Star Team after posting 149 points in 64 games. The next season he was the best junior in Canadian hockey. He had 191 points, was bumped up to the Quebec league's First All-Star Team and was a standout for the Canadian team at the World Junior Championship. He was named the Canadian Major Junior Player of the Year.

Even after his incredible year, few people believed Robitaille could continue his prolific output in the bigger, stronger and faster NHL. But, he went on to score 45 goals and record 84 points that first season. He won the Calder Trophy as the league's top rookie, outpacing Philadelphia goalie Ron Hextall, and not only earned a spot on the league's all-rookie team but also on the NHL's Second All-Star Team as well.

The next season he scored 63 goals and collected 111 points. He secured a berth on the NHL First All-Star Team, where he would stay for four years. Wayne Gretzky joined the team in Robitaille's third year, 1989-90. Robitaille continued to score, finishing the season two shy of 100 points and 46 goals. Gretzky missed the first half of the 1992-93 season with an injury and Robitaille ably filled in the offensive gap, as well as serving as the team's captain. His 62 goals and 125 points established league records for a left winger.

The Kings sagged a bit the next year, although Robitaille once again scored over 40 goals. It was the eighth consecutive season he had topped 40, the third longest streak in NHL history behind his teammate Gretzky, who had 12 in a row, and Mike Bossy's nine. When Los Angeles missed the playoffs that year, Robitaille joined Canada's national team at the 1994 World Championship in Italy. He scored the championship-winning goal in a shootout to give Canada its first gold medal in 33 years.

Robitaille was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins prior to the lockout shortened 1994-95 season. He had a solid year, collecting 23 goals in 46 games, but was sent to the New York Rangers in the summer of 1995. Aside from 1994-95, the fewest number of games he played in a season was 76, but for the first time in his career, Robitaille began to miss games because of injuries, and he struggled with his scoring. He scored 47 goals over two seasons with the Rangers, enjoying a brief turnaround when he was reunited with Gretzky in 1996. He returned to Los Angeles in 1997 but had an injury-riddled year, playing only 57 games and scoring just 16 goals.

He reached the 500-goal milestone in a game against the Buffalo Sabres on January 9, 1999. Only the sixth left winger in league history to reach the plateau. Robitaille scored the goal in his 928th NHL game, making him the 12th fastest ever to accomplish the feat. After two more seasons in Los Angeles, Robitaille became a un-restricted free agent and opted to sign with Detroit Red Wings in hopes increasing his chances of capturing his first Stanley Cup. In his first season with the Wings, Robitaille registered 30 goals surpassing the 600-goal mark and captured his first Stanley Cup and the Wings third cup in six years.

During the 2002-03 season Robitaille's offensive numbers were not what he was accustomed to, however, the Montreal native managed to surpass the 1,300 point plateau. After two seasons and one Stanley Cup in Detroit, Robitaille was re-acquired by the Los Angeles Kings for his third stint with the club in the summer of 2003. Luc Robitaille played his last game on April 17, 2006 with the Los Angeles Kings after 19 seasons of NHL competition. At the time of his retirement, Robitaille held several franchise records, and was the highest-scoring left winger in the history of the NHL.

Luc Robitaille officially had his number 20 sweater retired appropriately on the 20th of January in 2007 by the Los Angeles Kings. He became the fifth player to have his number retired by the organization after Rogie Vachon, Marcel Dionne, Dave Taylor and Wayne Gretzky.

In May 2007, Luc was named President of Business Operations of the Los Angeles Kings. In April 2017, he was named president of the franchise.

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