Robitaille spent one season with the Penguins and two with the Rangers before the Kings reacquired him in 1997. He left as a free agent for Detroit in 2001 when the Kings proposed to cut his pay by $1 million after a 37-goal season.
He scored 30 goals in 2001-02 and only 11 the next season, but the Kings brought him back in 2003, and he scored 22 goals. With Murray cutting his ice time and his scoring droughts lengthening, he had 15 goals in 65 games last season.
He shouldn't be remembered by those last unhappy days, when he struggled to find the net. He was a singular presence and he deserves to have his jersey placed alongside those worn by Gretzky, Dionne, Rogie Vachon and Dave Taylor, even if he can't quite believe it.
"I was a little kid wanting to play a game," he said. "I remember coming into the Forum for the first time and looking at the ceiling and everything and thinking, 'Wow.' Now my name and number will be there for as long as" Staples Center exists.
"It's not something you set out to play for, when it happens and you see that, to me, it's an amazing accomplishment. I can take my grandkids and show them that."
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Luc Robitaille is the fifth King to have his number (20) retired, after Rogie Vachon (30), Marcel Dionne (16), Dave Taylor (18) and Wayne Gretzky (99). Robitaille had three stints with the Kings. Average goals and points for each Kings stint, Kings career and NHL career:
*--* SEASON AVERAGES Seasons Goals Points Kings 1986-94 8 49.0 100.4 Kings 1997-2001 4 32.0 69.0 Kings 2003-06 2 18.5 37.5 KINGS CAREER 14 39.8 82.4 NHL CAREER 19 35.1 73.4
*--* ALL-TIME KINGS GOAL SCORERS Games Goals 1. Luc Robitaille 1,074 557 2. Marcel Dionne 921 550 3. Dave Taylor 1,111 431 4. Bernie Nicholls 602 327 5. Butch Goring 736 275
Los Angeles Times