Did Wayne Gretzky win a Stanley Cup with the Kings?

Wayne Gretzky is widely regarded as the greatest hockey player of all time. Nicknamed “The Great One”, he holds dozens of NHL records and led the Edmonton Oilers to four Stanley Cup championships in the 1980s. However, one question that often comes up is whether Gretzky was able to win a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings after being traded there in 1988.

Quick answer: No, Wayne Gretzky did not win a Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings. He played 8 seasons with the Kings from 1988 to 1996, leading them to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1993 where they lost to the Montreal Canadiens. But Gretzky was never able to bring a championship to Los Angeles.

Gretzky’s Trade to the Kings in 1988

After winning four Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers, Gretzky was shockingly traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988. The trade rocked the hockey world, as Gretzky had become synonymous with the Oilers franchise. But with free agency looming and the threat that he could leave Edmonton without the team getting anything in return, Gretzky was sent to L.A. in a blockbuster trade.

The Kings sent forwards Jimmy Carson and Martin Gelinas, plus first-round draft picks in 1989, 1991, and 1993 to Edmonton in exchange for Gretzky. It was hoped that Gretzky’s superstar presence would help put hockey on the map in a non-traditional U.S. market like Los Angeles. And indeed, Gretzky’s first season with the Kings saw home attendance at the Forum jump by an average of 7,000 fans per game.

But could the greatest player in NHL history lead this fledgling hockey city to a Stanley Cup championship?

Gretzky’s Regular Season Dominance with the Kings

Gretzky did not miss a beat offensively after the trade to L.A., immediately putting up huge numbers. In his first season with the Kings in 1988-89, he led the league with 168 points, winning the Art Ross Trophy for most points in a season for the 8th consecutive time.

He would continue to rank among the NHL’s leading scorers every season with the Kings, averaging well over a point per game. Gretzky topped 130 points three times and scored at a 108-point pace even during the lockout-shortened 1994-95 campaign. His offensive dominance was a constant, and he became the Kings’ all-time leading scorer in just his 5th season with the team.

But while Gretzky excelled individually, that regular season success did not immediately translate to team victories. The Kings finished just two games above .500 in his first two years with the franchise. It was not until the 1990-91 season that the Kings broke through as an elite contender in the Smythe Division.

Gretzky Leads Kings to New Playoff Heights

Bolstered by players like Luc Robitaille, Rob Blake, and Jari Kurri, the Kings turned into a playoff mainstay with Gretzky in the early 1990s. In 1991, he led them to their first ever division title en route to a 102 point season. Though they were upset in the playoffs, it marked the arrival of the Kings as a Western Conference powerhouse.

The 1992-93 season stands out as the high point of Gretzky’s tenure in Los Angeles. The Kings cracked 100 points in consecutive years for the first time ever, and Gretzky put up one of the best seasons of his legendary career with 65 goals and 121 points. In the 1993 playoffs, he led L.A. over the Flames, Canucks, and Maple Leafs all in seven games to reach the franchise’s first ever Stanley Cup Final. There, they faced the Montreal Canadiens with a chance at history.

1993 Stanley Cup Final Loss to Montreal

After their thrilling run through the West, the Kings met the Canadiens in the 1993 Cup Final. Montreal was aiming for its 24th championship in franchise history, while Los Angeles sought its first. With Gretzky leading the way, the Kings seemed poised to potentially end Canada’s five-year stranglehold on the Stanley Cup.

The series got off to a promising start, with the Kings using home ice advantage to take Game 1 in overtime. But Montreal battled back to claim Game 2 and the momentum shifted. The Canadiens roared to big wins in Games 3 and 4 on home ice to push L.A. to the brink of elimination.

Though Gretzky tried his best by scoring a hat trick in Game 5, the Kings could not stop Montreal’s balanced scoring attack. The Canadiens closed out the series in Game 5, winning their 24th Stanley Cup title and denying Gretzky his chance at a 5th championship. The Kings had come oh so close to glory, but ultimately fell short despite being led by the Great One.

Scoring Leader, But Not a Champion in L.A.

While Gretzky wrote his name all over the Kings’ offensive record books after 1988, he was unable to end the franchise’s Stanley Cup drought. They made one more Conference Finals appearance in 1993 during his tenure, but generally struggled to escape the second round of the playoffs.

Gretzky would play his last game for Los Angeles in 1996, ending his Kings career with 918 points in 539 games. He had transformed hockey in Southern California, but failed to lead the franchise to that elusive championship. The Kings would not win their first Cup until 2012, well after Gretzky’s departure.

Return to Edmonton Without a Cup

In 1996, Wayne Gretzky was traded to the St. Louis Blues, later finishing his playing career with a last hurrah in New York. He never raised the Cup again either with the Rangers or Blues.

Then in 1999, Gretzky made an emotional return to Edmonton by becoming the Oilers’ head coach and part-owner. This gave him one more shot at winning a championship with the franchise that had jump-started his legendary career.

However, his four seasons coaching in Edmonton yielded just one playoff berth and no postseason series victories. Once again, Gretzky was unable to recapture the Cup magic he had produced as a player for so many years. He stepped down as coach in 2002.

While Gretzky was a league MVP and scoring champion everywhere he played, his incredible championship success with Edmonton ultimately did not continue elsewhere. For all his records and accolades, the Great One was not able to turn the Kings or any of his other teams into champions after 1988.


Wayne Gretzky’s 8 seasons with the Los Angeles Kings were undoubtedly the most successful years in franchise history. He transformed a fledgling hockey market into a perennial contender and brought them to the cusp of a Stanley Cup.

However, despite rewriting the team record books, Gretzky was never able to lead the Kings all the way to a championship. They fell just short in their only Final appearance with him in 1993, losing out to the Montreal Canadiens. Gretzky would not raise the Cup again after being traded away from the Edmonton Oilers.

So while Wayne Gretzky made Los Angeles a hockey hotbed and the Kings a feared opponent, he was unable to bring the city its first Stanley Cup. The Great One’s goal of turning L.A. into a championship hockey town went unfulfilled during his tenure there. For all his unprecedented feats, winning a Cup with the Kings is one thing that eluded even the sport’s greatest star.

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