Skip to main content

Derek King

Derek King was an underrated player with the New York Islanders in the 1990s. Late in his career he also played two seasons with Toronto and brief appearances with Hartford and St. Louis.

King was born in Hamilton, Ontario. He grew up playing both forward and defense. In fact, in his final midget season before jumping to the Ontario Hockey League he spent much of the season lining up on the blue line.

King went on to an impressive OHL career as forward with the Soo Greyhounds and Oshawa Generals. He would be a first round draft choice (13th overall) by the Islanders in 1985. He then exploded with a 53 goal, 106 final season in junior.

As a pro King was quickly noted as a power play specialist and a talented finisher. He had a booming shot and a nose for the net. Furthermore he was not afraid to go to the danger zone around the goalie and get take his bumps and bruises to bang in rebounds and deflect shots.

But his adjustment to the NHL was slow. For all his talents he had to learn how to better use his size to create space for himself and his linemates. He also had to work hard to become a reliable defensive player.

The Islanders were rewarded by 1991. King spent a lot of time skating along side newly acquired star center Pierre Turgeon. Turgeon was a great playmaker and the perfect set up man King had never had a chance to play with at the NHL level. While Turgeon quietly became one of the best players in the league, King also emerged as a top gunner. In the next three seasons he would score 40, 38 and 30 goals, respectively.

When Turgeon left the Islanders in 1995, so too did King's lofty goal totals. Injuries certainly did not help, as he battled foot and jaw injuries plus a concussion. Ultimately he struggled for the next two seasons before returning to the 23 goal mark in 1996-97. He would finish the season in Hartford.

King signed as a free agent by the Leafs the next season and would have to two more seasons with 20-plus goals. The most notable of the goals he scored in Toronto came on February 13th, 1999 when he scored the final goal by a Leafs player ever at Maple Leaf Gardens.

The Leafs moved into the Air Canada Centre days later, but King was not a part of their future plans. He would move on to St. Louis the next season but spent most of the next five years playing in the minor leagues, with a season also played in Germany.

King went on to be an assistant coach at both the AHL and major junior levels.


Popular posts from this blog

100 Greatest Hockey Players Of All Time

What follows is a listing of the 100 greatest hockey players of all time, in my opinion. As discussed earlier, the definition of greatness is a very personalized endeavor and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it.
While there is no way of ever truly ranking the top 100 definitively, it is important for the creators of such lists to be open and transparent of how the came to their conclusions. That accountability allows the reader to better understand the process. 

Although admittedly I'm using a completely unscientific formula, I weigh career achievements (era statistics, awards, championships) and legacy (impact on and off ice, peak dominance) equally high. I rank player ability as the third most important ingredient, as first and foremost as a tie breaker. Hence, I'm not necessarily looking for the better player, as in text book definitions of what a hockey player should be, but for players with the greatest careers and greatest legacies. Therefore the best player is not n…

Top Ten Junior Players Of All Time

Let's take a look at the Top Ten junior players of all time. For the purposes of this list we will at players in the WHL, OHL and QMJHL only.

10. Pat Lafontaine, Verdun, QMJHL Rookie-record 104 goals, 234 points in 1982-83; major junior player of the year.

9. Denis Potvin, Ottawa, OHL 254 games, 95 goals, 234 assists, 329 points. Broke Bobby Orr's junior records.

8. John Tavares, Oshawa, OHL 215 goals, 433 points in 247 games; most goals in OHL history; eligibility rules changed to admit him at 15; 2006 major junior rookie of the year, 2007 major junior player of the year; two world juniors, named 2009 all-star, top forward and MVP.

7. Sidney Crosby, Rimouski, QMJHL 120 goals, 303 points in 121 games; two-time major junior player of the year; silver and gold with Canada at two world juniors.

6. Eric Lindros, Oshawa, OHL 97 goals, 216 points in 95 games; one Memorial Cup victory; three world junior tournaments; major junior player of the year in 1991.

5. Mike Bossy, Laval, Q…

Greatest Hockey Legends: M