LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Kings achieved their goal of adding a quality defenseman near the trade deadline. It came with a heavy cost.
The Kings acquired defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo in a trade with Columbus Blue Jackets. In return, Los Angeles sent two-time Stanley Cup winning goaltender Jonathan Quick, a conditional 2023 first-round draft pick and a third-rounder in 2024.
“The team’s performance over the last month put us in position that we felt as a staff we needed to go out and address needs that we had identified previously to help this team continue to push for the playoffs,” Kings vice president and general manager Rob Blake said during a conference call on Wednesday.
Los Angeles is tied with Vegas for most points in the Pacific Division with 76. The Kings got to the playoffs last season for the first time since 2018 but lost in seven games to Edmonton in the first round. They have not won a postseason series since winning the Cup in 2014.
The first-rounder is conditional on the Kings making the playoffs, as expected. If they do not, Columbus – which has a league-low 46 points – gets a second-round pick from L.A. each of the next two drafts as part of the trade completed late Tuesday night and announced Wednesday.
Quick found out about the trade in a phone call from Blake after Tuesday night’s 6-5 shootout victory over the Winnipeg Jets. Blake was not with the team during the five-game road trip.
“There was shock and disappointment,” Blake said. “The setting wasn’t perfect because of the time. That was not an easy decision and I’ll reiterate how important he (Quick) is to the franchise and the organization.”
Blake added that he talked to captain Anze Kopitar and defenseman Drew Doughty after his call with Quick to let them what happened.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said they had tried to reach an extension with Gavrikov, but were unable to come to terms. Korpisalo was also in the final season of his contract.
“Both of them are pending unrestricted free agents and where we are in our process and in the season right now, we felt that it was a necessary move for our future,” Kekalainen said.
Quick backstopped the Kings to their Cup titles in 2012 and ’14. He won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP in 2012 after recording three shutouts in 20 starts. He also allowed only seven goals in the six-game finals victory over the New Jersey Devils.
Quick is in the final season of a 10-year, $58 million contract but had been supplanted as the Kings No. 1 goaltender by Pheonix Copley. It’s unclear if Columbus will keep Quick or flip him to a contender before the trade deadline Friday.
The 37-year old Quick had started three of the last six games. He made 16 saves in last Friday’s 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders to pick up his 370th career win, which surpassed Tom Barrasso for third place on the wins list by a U.S.-born goaltender in NHL history.
He is 11-13-4 on the season with a 3.50 goals-against average, .876 save percentage and one shutout.
Quick – a third-round pick by the Kings in 2005 – also holds the franchise records for goalies in games played (743) and shutouts (57).
Gavrikov and Korpisalo are expected to arrive in Los Angeles before Thursday’s game against the Montreal Canadiens.
Quick is remaining in Los Angeles, since there is a possibility he could be moved again before Friday’s trade deadline.
Gavrikov has three goals and seven assists in 52 games, but has not played since Feb. 11. He was expected to be dealt last week to the Boston Bruins before that fell through.
Gavrikov was among Columbus’ leaders in ice time. He also is a left-handed shooter and a quality penalty killer, which are two areas where the Kings have been lacking.
“I think he fits the mold of a bigger player who is very solid defensively, can play a lot of minutes, can penalty kill and check top players,” Blake said.
Korpisalo had won three of his last four starts along with posting a .921 save percentage. He made nine starts for the Blue Jackets during the 2020 playoffs.
Copley is 18-4-2 since making his debut on Dec. 6. The wins are tied with Tampa Bay’s Andrei Vasilevskiy for the most during that span, but Copley’s .899 save percentage is 24th among 31 goalies who have played 18 or more games over the past three-plus months.
Korpisalo’s .915 save percentage since early December is ranked 11th. His overall record this season is 11-11-3 with a 3.17 goals-against average and .913 save percentage.
Quick’s trade leaves Kopitar and Doughty as the only remaining players from the Kings’ Cup-winning teams.