Los Angeles Kings: All Quiet On The Western Front


It’s been a busy month around the NHL.

It started a little over a month ago on April 18th, when the 2015 Draft lottery took place.  Surprise, surprise . . . the Edmonton Oilers won the rights to the 1st overall pick AGAIN.

The New Jersey Devils hired former Pittsburgh Penguins new General Managers Ray Shero.  Edmonton Oilers signed former Boston Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli to move out to central Alberta.

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Detroit’s coach is in Toronto, San Jose’s coach is in Edmonton, New Jersey’s coach is in San Jose . . .

The story is other teams around the NHL have been making a big splash.

Mike Babcock, the “free agent” coach signed a mega 8-year $50 million dollar deal (which averages out to an annual salary of $6.25 million) to coach the Maple Leafs.  The second most highly touted coach, Dan Bylsma, signed up to be the Buffalo Sabres bench manager.

Meanwhile in the depths of L.A. the Los Angeles Kings have remained quiet.

It’s business as usual for the newly crowned “Sports Team Of The Year“.

Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi is waiting to see what other developments come to pass through the hockey world.

The Kings have a few priorities, but have nonetheless remained silent.  No contract extensions have been offered to Kings players.

Perhaps it’s a good thing.  The Kings roster needs some time away from the business and work of hockey.  Over the last four season the Kings have put a ton of miles on their players.  With the exception of this past season the Kings have had deep runs into the playoffs – making the Western Conference Finals or better each of the last three seasons.

Los Angeles Kings
Los Angeles Kings /

Los Angeles Kings

This year the Kings didn’t make the playoffs, but they had a hard push at the end of the season that drains the players.

Since the 2011-2012 season, when the Kings won their first Stanley Cup, Jonathan Quick has played a total of 291 games (that includes a shortened season of 48 regular season games in 2012-2013, but does not include 5 games for Team USA at the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics).

Over eight-years Quick has played a total of 483 games.  So, in the last four years Quick has played 60% of his games.

In comparison New York Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who just finished a playoff run losing 2-0 to the Tampa Bay Lightning in Game 7.  Over the same period of time Lundqvist has played 290.  In 10-years in the NHL with the Rangers Lundqvist has played 731 games.  That’s 40% of Lundqvist’s career in the last four years.

While Lundqvist and Quick have played an almost identical number of games in the last four seasons, there is a stark contrast between how much that massive chunk of playing time has taken up of their careers.

Of course the same number of games is a higher percentage for Quick, who has played in two fewer seasons.  Lundqvist has also made the playoffs 9 out of 10 years with the Rangers, which is an amazing statistic.  In 8 years Quick has made it to the post-season 5 times.

All of the numbers tell a long story that’s made to present a simple point: at a young age Quick has played a ton of hockey.  Both Quick and Lundqvist are arguably two of the top three or four goaltenders in the world.

It’s time for the Kings to take a turn out and get some rest.  It’s time to start pondering what next year’s team should look like and what moves need to be made to get them ready.

Dean Lombardi will bide his time and strike at the right moment.  It’s L.A.’s M.O. and what has made them one of the best franchises in the world.

Clearly two of those moves are resigning Tyler Toffoli the Kings emerging star, and resigning backup goaltender Martin Jones.

Perhaps Jones can step in to the net more frequently next year and give Quick some additional rest for a typical Kings late season push.

Jun 3, 2014; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Los Angeles Kings general manager Dean Lombardi during media day before game one of the 2014 Stanley Cup Final against the New York Rangers at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports