The Triple Crown Line was a trio of stars that played for the Los Angeles Kings during the late 1970′s and early 1980′s. Construction of the line began in 1975-76 when the Kings got Marcel Dionne from the Detroit Red Wings. Charlie Simmer was a seldom used player with the California Golden Seals when the Kings got him in 1977-78. Dave Taylor was the only home grown player of the three and came to the Kings in 1977-78 after playing university hockey.
Dionne played three years of junior hockey in the Ontario Hockey Association from 1968-69 to 1970-71, all with the St. Catherines Black Hawks. Marcel remains just one of five players to win the Eddie Powers Trophy twice as the OHA’s (OHL) top scorer. In 1969-70, he led the league with 132 points in 54 games. In 1970-71, he totalled an amazing 143 points in just 46 games.
At the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft, the Montreal Canadiens chose Guy Lafleur first overall. The Red Wings got the ‘consolation prize’, taking Dionne second. He was an outstanding player with Detroit but became a superstar after being traded to the Kings.
Marcel played 1,348 regular season games over his NHL career between 1971-72 and 1988-89. Besides the Red Wings and Kings, Dionne also had a short stint with the New York Rangers. Unfortunately for Dionne, he played in just 48 playoff games over his career.
Dionne was with the Kings from 1975-76 to 1986-87. He won the Art Ross Trophy in 1979-80 with 137 points. In 1992 he was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. His jersey number 16 is retired by Los Angeles.
The Marcel Dionne rookie card appears as number 133 in the 1971-72 O-Pee-Chee set. The hockey card is valued at $150. The set is highlighted by two other rookie cards with greater value than the Dionne card. The Ken Dryden rookie card is valued at $300 and the Guy Lafleur rookie card is valued at $200.
Simmer spent just one year in the OHA with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds before being drafted by the California Seals in the third round of the 1974 NHL Amateur Draft, 39th overall. Simmer saw his first NHL action the following year but spent much of his time in the minors until he was shipped down the coast.
Charlie played in the National Hockey League from 1974-75 to 1987-88 with the Seals, Kings, Boston Bruins and Pittsburgh Penguins. He was with the Kings from 1977-78 to 1983-84. An amazing sniper, Simmer had back to back 56 goal seasons in 1979-80 and 1980-81. Even more amazing is the fact he played just 64 games in 1979-80 and 65 in 1980-81. He was awarded the Bill Masterton Trophy in 1985-86.
Despite playing his first NHL game in 1974-75, he didn’t appear on cardboard until 1979-80. The Charlie Simmer rookie card appears as number 191 in the 1979-80 set and is valued at an underrated $6. Of course, the star of that set is the Wayne Gretzky rookie card, casting a shadow on some other great cards that came out that year.
The lowest drafted player to reach 1,000 points in an NHL career. Taylor was picked up by the Kings in the 15th round of the 1975 NHL Amateur Draft, 210th overall. At the time, he had just finished his second of four years with Clarkson University. Dave went on to play 1,111 regular season games in the NHL between 1977-78 and 1993-94, all with the Kings.
Over his career, he surpassed the 100 point plateau twice. Taylor reached the Stanley Cup finals with Los Angeles in 1992-93, playing in 22 playoff games in what would be his second last year in the NHL. The Kings fell to the Montreal Canadiens in the finals. Like Charlie Simmer, Taylor was a recipient of the Bill Masterton Trophy, taking it home in 1990-91. Dave’s jersey number 18 has been retired by the Kings.
Taylor found his face on cardboard a year before Simmer. The Dave Taylor rookie card appears as number 353 in the 1978-79 O-Pee-Chee set. The card is a gem and valued at $30. The 1978-79 set is highlighted by the Mike Bossy rookie card, valued at $100.
Triple Crown Line Hockey Card
In their 1981-82 set, O-Pee-Chee honoured the trio on card number 391. Dionne, Simmer and Taylor became the first three linemates in NHL history to all reach the 100 point plateau in a single season. In 1980-81, Marcel Dionne was the only one who played all 80 games, scoring 58 goals and assisting on 77 for 135 points. Dave Taylor came next with 47 goals and 65 assists for 112 points over 72 games. Charlie Simmer scored 56 and assisted on 49 for 105 points in just 65 games.
In typical Kings fashion during the Triple Crown Line era, the team had a strong regular season, finishing second in the Norris Division behind the Montreal Canadiens with 43 wins and 99 points. However, typical of the Kings during that era, the team shut down in the opening round of the playoffs, losing three games to one to the New York Rangers. New York outscored the high powered Kings 23-12 in the series.
The 1981-82 O-Pee-Chee card is a bargain, valued at just $2.50.