It’s fair to say that every LA Kings fan was in utter shock when they first discovered that Jonathan Quick would be involved in a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets. Although Quick possessed a .867 save percentage and had a losing record on the playoff LA Kings, the fact that a legendary goaltender was getting moved felt unreal.

Jonathan Quick brought the city of Los Angeles two cups and the only two Stanley Cups in franchise history. Minutes after an exciting win against the Winnipeg Jets, we knew Jonathan Quick would be getting moved.

The night felt somber as Kings fans and players shared memories of Quick’s legacy in LA. Something like this was never expected, and it happened out of nowhere. The return of Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo was exciting, a breath of fresh air. But, of course, the loss of Jonathan Quick didn’t feel great.

The next morning, it started feeling rather more real. Although it hurt, the move had to happen. The LA Kings needed a top-four defenseman, and Vladislav Gavrikov fit the criteria. In his first nine games in LA, Gavrikov has one goal and four points with a plus-seven rating.

The obtainment of Joonas Korpisalo has also been excellent, as the Finnish-born goaltender has a 3-0-1 record in his first four games with a .921 save percentage. An upgrade from Quick.

The main concern with this trade is how the locker room is being affected. Moving a big-name player and a legend like Jonathan Quick is risky, considering how he was the foundation of the locker room. His gutsy attitude and agitating personality make him a unicorn. We expect NHL players to be professionals and get over it, but sports teammates are like brothers and sisters. They spend as much time with each other– if not more– than they do with their families.

So, of course, the concern that a father-like figure in the locker room was on his way out raised concerns. Luckily, the Kings recovered. Since the trade, the LA Kings are 7-0-2. Taking that into consideration, the LA Kings haven’t failed to record a point without Gavrikov and Korpisalo on the roster. Despite losing a legend in the locker room in Quick, the Kings battled through it and managed to push to 92 points with 11 more games to go. You can’t help but be scornful of how far they’ve come.

There is worry about Korpisalo and Gavrikov walking in free agency (seeing how they’re both upcoming unrestricted free agents), but you cannot deny that the Kings are an elite team at this point.

For the first time in years, the LA Kings have more than 40 wins in a season. Two years ago, nobody would believe it if the LA Kings would be winning games in 8-2 fashion. The season isn’t over yet, and the playoffs are still a month away. Still, we should all be proud of the LA Kings.

As much as it sucked to lose Quick, the reality of it is that the LA Kings are a better hockey team. We can dwell on how the Kings treated Quick and how this will leave a bit of an unwanted stain, but we all know this had to happen. The ultimate goal for an NHL team is to win the Stanley Cup. You don’t win the cup without winning games. And Jonathan Quick was not winning the LA Kings games.

Every so often in the 2022-23 season Quick would make a clutch save or a flashy cross-crease save. But looking back at it, he was losing the LA Kings games.

Photo Credit: MoneyPuck

His goals saved above expected is among the worst in the NHL. Playing Quick felt like a chore in most games. He would often struggle with reaction time and basic saves. It’s crazy to think the one goalie that kept the Kings viable for so long (leading up to last season as well) ended up hurting the team more than helping.

Hockey is a business. The business is to come out on top and win games. Feelings and morale do matter, but there were no excuses.  As much as it sucked, the roster handled it incredibly well. Instead of turning the trade into a maladaptation, the Kings are using the new set of players they were given to their advantage. They turned a difficult citation into a virtue and became a dominant hockey team. Of course, there have been a few blips here and there, but the team looks and feels different.

As much flack as Rob Blake received for the trade, life as an LA Kings fan has to be better after that trade. Not saying that we can’t miss Jonathan Quick, but there’s nothing to complain about. The LA Kings made a move to get better, and they’ve done that successfully. The Kings haven’t lost a single game in regulation since the trade. It shows how much guts the players have to be able to turn a hard moment into a positive thing.

Cover image courtesy of Alex Cave

3 thoughts on “LA Kings: Turning a bad situation into a Virtue

  1. In the moment, for me as a diehard Kings fan, Quick & the Vegas team, are the enemy, as the Kings vie for the top spot in the division, against the current top team, Vegas. After Quick retires, he will once again be my hero who stole the 2012 Stanley Cup for my Kings & was tenacious in helping them win the 2014 Cup. But for now, I want Quick to lose games for the Knights.

  2. With our injuries we are so lucky to have Quick. We are depleted at goalie position, they as of now are all out. Thompson, again, Hill, Bros. We have Quick and Paterra a rookie.

  3. Quick going was and still is hard to fathom , but it’s Sports and not Life and Death . With that said Blake , Robitaille and Co. laid out the Red Carpet for Gavrikov and Korpisalo . The only thing that can stop them from signing long term in LA is Our Greedy Tax Sys .

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *