So… Which Jonathan Quick is the real one?

21 Comments

If you asked fans to describe Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick in one word, you might wind up with a lot of different answers.

After winning two Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy, some might call him a “winner.” After looking at his save percentage numbers the past two seasons, some might call him “overrated.” Others may see how he performed against the New York Rangers and say he’s “clutch.”

So is Quick one of the greats or is he just an average goalie that’s lucked out?

Last season, Quick’s numbers weren’t anything to go wild over.

His .915 save percentage didn’t put him in the top 20 amongst goalies in the NHL in the regular season. Backups Ben Scrivens (.931) and Martin Jones (.934) played strong while Quick was out with injuries and helped keep the Kings afloat in what was a brutal Pacific Division.

In the postseason, Quick’s play nearly cost the Kings in the first round against the San Jose Sharks. The potent Sharks offense plundered the Kings for 17 goals as they rushed out to a 3-0 series lead. Quick’s save percentage through those first three games was a paltry .851.

After that, things improved fast for the 28-year-old from Connecticut as he held the Sharks to four goals total in the final four games of the series as L.A. rallied to win in seven – good for a .963 save percentage.

In disposing of the Anaheim Ducks, Chicago Blackhawks, and Rangers in the next three rounds, he went full Spaghetti Western over the course of the three series. He was “good” against the Rangers with a .932, “bad” against the Ducks with a .915, and “ugly” against the ‘Hawks with a .889. Unsurprisingly, the series he was “good” in was the one that didn’t go seven games. It also clinched the Kings their second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

All told, his playoffs performance saw him skate away with another Stanley Cup while putting up a below-average save percentage of .911 through the full postseason. What’s not shocking? The fact that he doesn’t care about stats in the playoffs.

Compare that to his unbelievable 2011-12 season that may have been the best we’ll ever see out of him. A .929 regular season save percentage followed by a .946 in the postseason along with a Stanley Cup and  Conn Smythe is a tough thing to repeat. Throw in the fact he’s got nine years left on his 10-year, $58 million deal and wondering if he’s worth paying that much money until 2022-23 is an honest thing to do.

So just what kind of goalie is Quick?

Essentially he’s a wild card that has the benefit of having a great team surrounding him. If you ask the Rangers or Sharks about him, you might get an exasperated sigh built around missed chances and highlight-reel saves. Truth is, we may never seen him play as well as he did in 2011-12, but now he has the playoff résumé to do a lot of the talking for him.

Blackhawks’ Boris Katchouk sidelined by ankle sprain

blackhawks
Harry How/Getty Images
13 Comments

CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced.

The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.

The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.

The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.

Ducks’ Urho Vaakanainen crashes into boards, leaves on stretcher

Getty Images
3 Comments

ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.

The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.

The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.

Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.

The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.

Lightning donate $2 million to Hurricane Ian relief efforts

tampa bay lightning
Scott Audette/Getty Images
2 Comments

TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.

The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.

“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”

Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.

Maple Leafs sign defenseman Rasmus Sandin to 2-year deal

Rasmus Sandin
Julian Avram/Getty Images
2 Comments

TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.

The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.

“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”

The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.

Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.