Royal pain: Kings rule out Quick until March (Updated)

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Earlier this week, we wrote about Darryl Sutter’s less-than-optimistic health update on Jonathan Quick.

Turns out Sutter might’ve been foreshadowing.

On Wednesday, GM Dean Lombardi told the L.A. Times that Quick would be out until March with a groin injury suffered in the Kings’ season-opening loss to the Sharks.

Update: Lombardi has since revised the timeline, saying they’re predicting Quick’s return will be in mid-February.

The season opener was on Oct. 12 and, originally, the Kings said Quick was expected to miss “about three months.” Monday marked month No. 2 on the shelf, which is (presumably) why Sutter was asked for an update.

It’ll be curious to see how the club reacts to Lombardi’s latest news.

The Kings have survived without Quick — posting an 14-12-2 record — but have hardly thrived. Veteran forward Jeff Carter tore into his teammates following last night’s 6-3 loss in Buffalo, calling them “fragile.”

The perceived lack of stability isn’t surprising. Quick’s been L.A.’s backbone for years and was one of the league’s busiest workhorses over the last three seasons, including a ’15-16 campaign in which he led all NHL netminders in games (68) and minutes (4034) played.

Quick’s replacements have tried their best, and probably done about as well as could be expected.

Peter Budaj (13-7-2, 2.27 GAA, .907 save percentage) jumped from third-string AHL farmand to the No. 1 job, which is a huge leap, and has crashed back to earth after a good start.

Budaj has been pulled from two of his last five games, and has just an .861 save percentage during that stretch.

Jeff Zatkoff, originally signed to be Quick’s backup, has dealt with injuries himself and hasn’t played much. As a result, he’s yet to find any sort of groove and his ugly numbers (1-5-0, 3.20 GAA, .882 save percentage) reflect it.

Lombardi told the Times he won’t “throw the kitchen sink,” at his club’s netminding issues, so don’t expect any huge trade. That said, he may take a look at a smaller, less costly move — perhaps he could target ex-Kings netminder J-F Berbue, who’s stuck in limbo with the Islanders.