Is Quick's play on the Decline in Los Angeles?
By Patrick Hoffman
There is no doubt that Los Angeles Kings' netminder Jonathan Quick has had a fantastic NHL career up to this point.
To date, he has 309 career wins, has a 2.36 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and 51 shutouts. Oh yeah, he's also won two Stanley Cups, a Conn Smythe Trophy as the league's most valuable players in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and will go down one of the best American-born netminders.
With that said, I'm not quite sure what to think about Quick going into this season. He has dealt with injuries two out of the last three seasons, has not been as consistent as he usually is, and is not playing behind the greatest team.
Last season, Quick was awesome. In 46 games, he was 16-23-7 with a 3.38 goals-against average, a .888 save percentage, and two shutouts.
When he was healthy, he was not able to come up with the big save that we were accustomed to seeing him make, it appeared that he was struggling with his confidence, and he allowed more soft goals than we are used to seeing from him.
While the team in front of him was awful, he certainly did not make things any easier for himself or his team. We know that all he has done in his career for this franchise is win hockey games and provide top notch goaltending, things that did not happen last season.
All of the above leads me to wonder if Quick's play is starting to head downhill. Yes, may be last season was just a blip on the radar screen, but something tells me that we are starting to see a decline in Quick's play little by little.
One factor that is playing into this is age. He will be 34-years-old in January and while that may not seem that bad, as a goaltender gets up in age, his play starts to dip in different ways.
The fact that he has dealt with injuries in two of his last three seasons is not a good sign. As a goaltender ages, a netminder's groin is more prone to being injured and unfortunately for Quick, this will hinder his usually agility between the pipes.
Quick also has a much different team in front of him than he is used to seeing. They are not as strong defensively as they used to be, they are slow up front, and their style of play does not fit today's NHL. Hopefully, that will change under new head coach Todd McLellan.
Another sign that could mean the end is near for Quick is that the Kings re-signed 24-year-old netminder Cal Petersen to a 3-year extension. In 11 games with the club last season, he showed that he could play at the NHL level by going 5-4-1 with a 2.61 goals-against average, a .924 save percentage, and one shutout.
With this signing, it is expected that he should be Quick's backup next season. Should Quick falter in the early going, don't be surprised if you see Petersen getting a lot of playing time.
When you put all of these things together, you have a very questionable Quick going into the season. Yes, he can still be one of the best goaltenders in the game and yes, may be last season was just one of those seasons where nothing went right for him.
With that said, all of the above-mentioned factors could mean the beginning of the end for Quick.
Patrick covers the NHL for The Ultimate Hockey Fan Cave.
He has previously covered the league for WTP Sports, Sportsnet.ca, Kukla’s Korner, Spector’s Hockey, NHL Network Radio blog, TheHockeyNews.com, The Fourth Period, Stan Fischler’s “The Fischler Report”, as well as a slew of others.
For comments and hip checks, feel free to contact Patrick at email@example.com or on Twitter at @pathoffman35.