Jonathan Quick is a good goaltender. Like really, really good. The Los Angeles Kings have won two Stanley Cups in the last three seasons, both of which represent the only two in the history of their franchise, and he’s a tremendous reason for that, the first one in particular. That means it’s all down hill from here, right?
That’s not to say that Quick is suddenly going to turn into Dan Cloutier between the pipes, but with what we’ve seen from the former Conn Smythe Trophy winner in two seasons since his brilliant 2011-12 season, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that he may have already had his peak season.
To say that Jonathan Quick was great during that 2011-12 season in which the Kings captured their first Stanley Cup in franchise history would be a gross understatement. He went for a 1.95 goals against average in the regular season and a .929 save percentage. His 10 shutouts that season were certainly key in getting a Kings team with a scuffling offense into the postseason at all, let alone to the success they had.
He was equally dominant in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, posting a 1.41 GAA and a .946 save percentage, numbers which featured a trio of shutouts. He was named the winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy en route to the banner that came along with that success. The following two years, while the Kings overall have experienced success, have not been on the same level in terms of production from Quick.
Quick underwent back surgery following the Cup win in the summer of 2012, and it’s clear that he wasn’t back at full strength early on in the season that followed, even with the start of the year delayed with the lockout. His save percentage barely hovered above .900, at .902, with just one shutout in the 36 starts. His GAA jumped up to 2.45. He started to put things together toward the end of the year, and the Kings were able to progress to the Western Conference Finals. Nonetheless, many began to question that decade-long extension that kicked in after a rather lackluster year.
Last season obviously ended the way that the Kings would have liked it to, as they overcame three Game 7’s and breezed in the Stanley Cup Finals for a second title in three years. Quick’s numbers were also good in a broad sense, as he went for a 2.o7 GAA and .916 save percentage. Solid numbers, to be sure. He did make only 49 starts last year and it’s not as if his postseason numbers were anything to write home about.
The end result was positive, but Quick’s GAA leapt to 2.58 and he stopped shots at a clip of just .911 percent. He was very good at times, such as the Cup Finals, and he was really bad at other points. The Western Conference Finals marked an especially tumultuous point for Quick, as his save percentage against the Chicago Blackhawks was only .889. He rebounded well in the Cup Finals, of course.
In saying Quick’s best years are behind him, the point is really two-fold. No, Quick may never replicate that success he had, both regular and postseason, from 2011-12. That’s an all-time type of year, all things considered. However, that doesn’t mean he can’t experience success in the future. The Kings make life relatively easy for him with a strong defensive club around him, and one that has plenty of offensive weapons to help him out on the scoreboard as well.
Few around the game would describe Quick as the game’s best, as would have been the case after 2011-2012. He’s very good, and has an elite skill set, but his health history and overly aggressive style will likely continue to lead to inconsistent results. Nonetheless, with another nine years to go on this marriage between Jonathan Quick and the Los Angeles Kings, that’s not to say that there won’t be more banners headed to the Staples Center in the near future. He’s in a situation that will continue to set him up for success, even if he never returns to that 2011-12 type of form.
Randy Holt is a staff writer for Puck Drunk Love. You can follow him on Twitter @RandallPnkFloyd.