The future looks bright for the Los Angeles Kings, but does long-time goaltender Jonathan Quick have a place in that future?
The Los Angeles Kings won their sixth game in a row Monday night, but are still last in the Pacific Division and headed for a high pick in June’s draft. Goaltender Jonathan Quick has offered a blast from the past lately, allowing one goal or less in five of his last six starts with a 1.29 goals-against average over that span.
The Kings look set to have an infusion of youth next season, with Alex Turcotte, Gabe Vilardi and Tobias Bjornfot leading the wave. Cal Petersen has also been pretty good between the pipes since being called up, with a 2.73 GAA and a .922 save percentage in seven starts after the trade that sent Jack Campbell to the Maple Leafs.
Along with a growing collection of young players, the Kings will also head into the offseason with ample cap space to make moves. According to Spotrac, they have the fifth-most cap space for next year right now ($26.5 million). Even off what will possibly be back-to-back last-place division finishes, a return to relevance may come next year.
When the Kings won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, Quick quite simply had an argument to be regarded as the best goaltender in the NHL. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012, as he posted a .946 save percentage and 1.41 goals-against over the run to the Cup. He wasn’t quite as good during the 2014 run, but a 2.58 goals-against and a .911 save percentage is nothing to sneeze at. During the 2013 playoffs, when the Kings reached the Conference Finals, Quick had a 1.86 goals-against and a .934 save percentage.
Quick signed a 10-year, $58 million contract extension with the Kings in July of 2012. He is in year-seven of that deal now, with a $5.8 million annual cap hit and base salaries that decrease after this year. But he is not on an elite level anymore, and he’ll surely be splitting time with Peterson next year if he doesn’t become a strict backup.
The Kings don’t need to offload Quick in the name of creating cap space. There may be a trade market for him this offseason though, as teams with a need look under every stone for goaltending help, and general manager Rob Blake would do well to consider the possibilities.
A buyout of Quick’s contract this summer is highly unlikely. But if the Kings did do it they’d carry cap hits of $3.3 million (2020-21), $3.8 million (2021-22) and $4.3 million (2022-23) over the next three seasons, and a $1 million cap hit in each in the following three seasons through 2025-26.
Seemingly without much consequence, the Kings can keep Quick right through to the end of his contract if they want to. The question of if they should want to is a slightly different conversation, rooted in a level of acknowledgment for his past accomplishments. But Quick is still an asset in a broad sense, and his cap hit can be allocated more effectively elsewhere on the roster if he’s not going to be the clear-cut No. 1 goalie in Los Angeles next year.
Follow FanSided NHL for more news, analysis, opinion and unique coverage about hockey in all forms throughout the entire 2019-20 NHL season and beyond.