When listing the greatest, most important players in the history of the Los Angeles Kings, it would not take long before getting to Jonathan Quick. Quick was the starting goalie for the Kings when they won the Stanley Cup in 2012 and 2014, winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2012.
On Tuesday, days before the NHL Trade Deadline, Quick was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Elliotte Friedman of the NHL Network reported the deal. Not long after, Frank Seravalli of Bally Sports tweeted, “To say Jonathan Quick is unhappy with the trade, I’m told, is ‘an understatement.'” Other Kings felt the same way.
With LA/CLB working on a Korpisalo/Gavrikov deal, word is one of the pieces in return will be Jonathan Quick. Loved watching him during his fantastic run with the Kings, backbone of their two Stanley Cup championships. A first-round pick will also be involved.
— Elliotte Friedman (@FriedgeHNIC) March 1, 2023
To say Jonathan Quick is unhappy with the trade, I'm told, is "an understatement."
The entire #LAKings team was a bit down after the game, a win, and you could understandably see it in Anze Kopitar's face after a 4-goal night.
Tough deal, Kings trading a franchise legend.
— Frank Seravalli (@frank_seravalli) March 1, 2023
The frustration was shared by a lot of fans and others in the hockey world.
Can you really blame Jonathan Quick for being upset with the trade? I get it's a business, but the man spent 16 years with the Kings and is near the end of his career. Just let the man finish his career in LA.
— Chris (@CBengelCBS) March 1, 2023
This is messed up, man. https://t.co/SY7wb5HgOr
— Daniel Starkand (@DStarkand) March 1, 2023
I fully understand hockey is a business and the Kings are playoff bound, but you go above and beyond to honor Dustin Brown and let him retire a King on his terms but you do this to Jonathan Quick…there’s a way to do things, and this just isn’t it
— Annie O’D⚡️ (@sweetannieod) March 1, 2023
Stunning that Quick didn’t have a no trade clause in his contract. https://t.co/xCZ53kytPT
— Linda Cohn (@lindacohn) March 1, 2023
It’s always a business but this is yikes https://t.co/TB3Dg5Qg0q
— Todd Fuhrman (@ToddFuhrman) March 1, 2023
The situation isn’t quite like the one Patrick Kane with the Chicago Blackhawks. Yes, Kane is a Blackhawks franchise legend and was on the team during a glorious era. But Chicago isn’t close to contending and Kane, now 34, is still putting up decent numbers. It made sense to send him to a contending team. That is the business of sports.
Quick, though, is nowhere near at the form he was in the early part of the 2010s when he was leading the Kings to Stanley Cup triumphs. He’s also largely been replaced in net by Pheonix Copley — who started six games in February to Quick’s three. Also, unlike the Kane situation, the Kings are firmly in playoff position while the Blue Jackets have 46 points, the worst total in the league.
Does that make trading Quick easier? In a way, yes. But in a way, it also would have made it easier and more sensible to trade him. If he was the team’s primary starting goalie and Los Angeles was winning in spite of Quick’s struggles, replacing him would be completely fair and it would be borderline foolish not to. But even a struggling Quick would be a nice guy to have as a backup option. Not many other goalies have that kind of experience or track record.
Of course, sports are a business. Everyone understands that. But in some situations, the business end can be taken too much to the extreme. This could have been one of those times.