Not every player gets to begin his NHL career on a team with his idol. Blake, a defenseman, got to do just that with the Los Angeles Kings in 1989-90 when he and Larry Robinson were teammates. Blake had always worn No. 19, like Robinson, who helped Blake's game mature, first as a player and later as his coach.
The Kings selected Blake in the fourth round (No. 70) of the 1988 NHL Draft, after his freshman season at Bowling Green. He signed after his junior season, when he had 59 points (23 goals, 36 assists) in 42 games. He quickly showed that he had the skills to play in the NHL. His passes were crisp, his shot was booming and his body checks were punishing. He was a younger version of Robinson, a defenseman who could defend and punish opposing forwards physically but also contribute offensively.