Los Angeles Kings: Expectations of Jonathan Quick

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 6: Jonathan Quick
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 6: Jonathan Quick /

The LA Kings enter the 2017 season with one of the most prolific goaltenders in all of the NHL. This year, there are huge expectations for Jonathan Quick after a shortened 2016 season.

When Jonathan Quick went down with a lower body injury in the season opening game of the 2016 season, that should have been an early sign of what was to come. Obviously the team didn’t quite perform the way they had hoped, dropping out of the playoff picture much earlier than anticipated. That’s not to say Peter Budaj didn’t hold his own, because he did quite well as a fill-in for the all star goaltender. In fact, Budaj nearly had the same save percentage that Quick did in the year prior.

But at the end of the day, losing your star goalie for more than three months is devastating to a team’s morale. And Quick’s injury was no exception to that rule. The team finished 39-35, in a distant 5th place for the Pacific Division. While Quick’s injury wasn’t the only reason for their down season, it certainly could not have helped.

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But with that said, the tide appears to be turning. Quick, from what we know, is healthy and ready to put the Kings back into playoff relevance again. And when he is healthy, boy is Quick fun to watch. In his 9 full seasons at the NHL level, Quick has made the all star and won the Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012, awarded to the most valuable player during the Stanley Cup playoffs. In addition to that, Quick also won the William M. Jennings Trophy in 2014, awarded annually to the goaltender with the fewest goals against.

That being said, a goalie still needs a great team around him to succeed. Even if he leads the league in save percentage, Quick cannot thrive if teams are nonstop shooting at him. A big part of that will be the play of Drew Doughty, who had a rather dismal season last year as well. Doughty’s career +/- sits at +70, even though he had just a +8 last season. For reference, that landed him behind 137 other players in the NHL for +/- on the season. For a guy that had a +24 in the 2015 season, Doughty disappointed many.

Along with that, the offense will have to reign supreme once again to give Quick a fighting chance. The Kings ranked 25th in goals for in the 2016 season, even though they were one of the best in goals against. And it is not as if they didn’t get their chances as an offense. The Kings shot off the 7th most shots in the entire NHL, averaging 31 per game. The opportunity was there, but the execution wasn’t.

If the defense is there and if the offense can score near the top 10 in the league, Quick should be able to return the Kings to playoff glory.

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