He may have achieved legendary status among the Kings faithful in Los Angeles and beyond but most can safely admit that Jonathan Quick could benefit from a much better season in 2013-14 than last year. While it is easy to sympathize with Quick’s struggles last season due to his off-season back surgery, the Los Angeles Kings and their fans know that the 2012 Conn Smythe winner is capable of much better – and he showed that during the playoffs last spring as well as in the previous few regular seasons.
During the 2007-08 season when they were going through their seemingly-endless carousel of goaltenders, the Los Angeles Kings introduced their fans to Jonathan Quick. Half-jokingly, I said how nice it would be if the next starting goaltender would be someone with a name as prophetic as “Quick.” Little did I know.
Jonathan Quick, along with Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, is the only Kings player to have been drafted by ex-GM Dave Taylor. In 2005, Quick was drafted 73rd overall. The player the Kings drafted before Quick was a forward by the name of TJ Fast. Whether it was just a coincidence or Dave Taylor and his scouting staff were trying to be funny, Jonathan Quick would soon show that the team’s decision to draft him was anything but a joke.
After playing in three games during the 2007-08 campaign, Quick went on to play in 44 games the next season, going 21-18-2 with a 2.48 goals-against average with four shutouts. While the Kings did miss the playoffs that year, it was evident that something special was happening between the pipes in sunny Los Angeles.
After a record-setting campaign in 2009-10 where Quick played 72 games, he burned out in the playoffs which led skeptics wondering whether the UMass-Amherst alum was nothing more than a flash in the pan. But Quick shut up those critics by earning six shutouts and while his 35 wins were four less than his total from the previous year, his GAA went down thirty points from 2.54 to 2.24. But if his efforts earned him star status thus far, Jonathan Quick would step it up a notch in 2011-12 when he led the second-lowest scoring team in the entire league to the playoffs going 35-21-13 while earning career-highs in GAA with 1.95, save-percentage with .928 and shutouts with 10. Oh, and then he stepped up his game in the playoffs going 16-4 with a 1.41 GAA, a .946 save-percentage and three shutouts all while leading his eighth-seeded Kings to an unprecedented elimination of the top three seeds in the conference en route to the Stanley Cup and for Quick, the Conn Smythe as the playoff’s most valuable player.
Even after a subpar campaign last year, the 27-year-old’s numbers were still decent (18-13-4, 2.45 GAA) but not Quick-like. Having signed a 10-year contract extension in the off-season in addition to his back surgery, many were impressed at how well Quick played in 2013 despite major surgery and the pressures of a new long-term contract.
Yet while some only care about the regular season only a team gets in the playoffs, many more know that Jonathan Quick is capable of much more and this season should be different in a good way considering the NHL is returning to its regular 82-game schedule so there won’t be any off-ice friction or players playing elsewhere or not playing at all, thus, losing momentum on the synergy they had with their NHL clubs.
Not only are the Los Angeles Kings vying to get back what’s rightfully theirs this season but Jonathan Quick, a native of Milford, Connecticut, is determined not only to make the US Olympic team in Sochi but to be the starting netminder in February.
While a great deal of praise is warranted for other American netminders such as Ryan Miller, Jimmy Howard and Cory Schneider, it is common knowledge (regardless of any east coast bias) that Jonathan Quick has accomplished the most among any goaltender born in any country much less the United States in the last four years. Unfortunately, this year’s theme in regards to the Olympics, in my opinion at least, will be, “What have you done for me lately?” And that should be enough to give Jonathan Quick a kick in the pants and return to his form of the three seasons prior to last.
For the Olympics, he’ll have to prove that he’s the best American goaltender. But overall, Jonathan Quick shouldn’t (and won’t) be afraid to prove that he’s the best goaltender overall.
We’re past the potential stage or how good something looks on paper. With Jonathan Quick, it’s about results and he’s proven results time and time again. Look for him to do the same in 2013-14 – and then some.