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31st Anniversary of 'The Trade' - Wayne Gretzky Joins the LA Kings

A look back at the trade between the Edmonton Oilers and LA Kings that shook the hockey world, and forever changed the NHL

by LA Kings @LAKings /

In the hockey world, it's simply known as "The Trade."

On August 9, 1988, the LA Kings acquired Wayne Gretzky, Marty McSorley and Mike Krushelnyski in exchange for Jimmy Carson, Martin Gelinas, first round draft picks in 1989, 1991 and 1993, and $15 million in the most substantial trade in NHL history.

Video: Wayne Gretzky's Introduction in Los Angeles

The trade occurred less than three months after Gretzky led the Oilers to their fourth Stanley Cup championship in five seasons, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP for the second time.

Watch: Youtube Video

In an interview with LA Kings Insider, LA Kings President Luc Robitaille said he was in Montreal at the time of the trade and had heard, like many closely connected to the sport, that there was definitely substance behind the smoke. He said he recalled hearing "some rumblings" in advance of the trade before then Kings owner Bruce McNall called him two or three days prior to express confidence that it would ultimately happen.

"I think down deep, I still didn't believe it," Robitaille said. "I didn't believe that the best player in the world, at his peak, would be traded. Later, he did tell me - I don't know if it's true - but they had asked for me, and [Bruce] had told me he would never trade me. That's the reason it took a few more days."

Gretzky turned the Kings into an attraction in star-driven Los Angeles, drawing sellout crowds and launching a new era of hockey.

Video: 50 Greatest Moments - The Trade

At the time of the trade, the then 27-year-old Gretzky was already the most dominant player of his generation, holding single-season NHL records for goals (92), assists (163) and points (215).

He was the League's all-time assists leader with 1,086 and sat 218 goals and 181 points behind Gordie Howe for No. 1 all-time in those categories.

PODCAST: Kings GM Rob Blake on the Impact of the Gretzky Trade

Gretzky would break each of those records with the Kings.

Video: 50 Greatest Moments - Greatest of Them All

Video: 50 Greatest Moments - Gretzky Scores 802

The Great One scored 246 goals and had 672 assists in eight seasons with Los Angeles.

In his first season with the Kings, he won the Hart Trophy as NHL MVP for his ninth and final time.

Video: 50 Greatest Moments - Gretzky Wins The Hart

In 1993, Gretzky's Game 7 performance in the Campbell Conference Final aganist the Toronto Maple Leafs vaulted the Kings to their first Stanley Cup Final.

Video: 50 Greatest Moments-Gretzky's Game 7

Ultimately, Gretzky would move on from the Kings. But his mark on the franchise will never be forgotten.

Video: 50 Moments - 33 - Number 99 Retired

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