I can easily say without any reservations that Jonathan Quick is the sole reason the Vancouver Canucks are out of the playoffs early and the St. Louis Blues are soon to follow. The Milford, Connecticut native got his start here in New England as part of the rich Hockey East tradition playing for the University of Massachusetts Amherst Minutemen. Quick attended UMASS Amherst after being drafted by the Los Angeles Kings 73rd overall in 2005. He caught the Kings’ attention following an impressive performance in his final two years at Avon Old Farms where he led the team to two straight New England Prep Championships. His 9 shutouts in his senior year is a New England Prep record.
Quick’s college career didn’t really start too smoothly with the Minutemen. In his first season he had a record of 4-10-1, despite sporting a solid .920 save percentage, and an okay 2.98 goals against average. Of course it is difficult to expect so much from a young goaltender entering arguably the most competitive NCAA hockey division. UMASS Amherst isn’t widely considered among the elite programs in that division and this is reflected in Quick’s first year numbers. Despite this lowly record, Jonathan’s game improved greatly from his impressive high school days and began to develop into the goaltender the Kings thought they were getting when they drafted him.
Following a sub-par first season with the Minutemen, Quick rebounded in his second season within the Hockey East division with an impressive record of 19-12-5. His goals against average of 2.16 that season was sparkling coupled with an impressive save percentage of .929. Quick led the Minutemen to their first ever NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Championship appearance. Following his solid second season, Quick would the turn his sights to pro hockey and joined the ECHL’s Reading Royals before joining the Kings’ AHL affiliate Manchester Monarchs later in the year. He also got his first taste of NHL action that season after being called up to make a few starts. He would begin his second pro season with the Monarchs where he began to develop his game further. As he continually impressed within the AHL, he got a call up to the NHL and won the starting goaltender job. He has never looked back as he has become one of the leagues very best goaltenders over the past four seasons.
As he has elevated his game with every passing season, Quick has established himself in the NHL. This season is without a doubt the pinnacle of his play in this league to date. With a record of 35-21-13, a save percentage of .929, an incredible 1.95 goals against average, and a league leading 10 shutouts; he has earned his first Vezina Trophy nomination. While his numbers are similar to those of New York’s Henrik Lundqvist who is also up for the Vezina, Quick is set apart due to the Kings’ performance in front of him. The Los Angeles Kings throughout the regular season were completely inept at putting together a solid offense and for large portions of the season they barely averaged a goal per game. If it wasn’t for Quick’s tremendous play this season, the Kings would be playing golf early. It should be mentioned that Quick did not get a nomination for the Hart Memorial Trophy as league’s MVP, instead Lundqvist got the nomination which to me is a huge misfire on the parts of the league and those voting. Simply put, no one is more responsible for their teams success this season than Jonathan Quick.
I’m sure Jonathan also captured a few Bruins fans hearts when he knocked the Vancouver Canucks out of contention basically by him self with probably his best performances to date. Throughout the playoffs so far this season Quick has a 6-1-0 record with an untouchable .952 save percentage and an insane 1.52 goals against average. He has the Kings in a terrific spot with the #2 ranked St. Louis Blues after winning the first two games on the road, Los Angeles gets yet another opportunity to knock off a top seeded team, this time on at home. You can’t say enough about Jonathan Quick, he has carried his team on his back and has made them look like world beaters. He is up for a Vezina this year and should the Kings win the Stanley Cup, the Conn Smythe as well. It would be pretty amazing to see him capture the same thing Tim Thomas did a year ago. The sky is the limit for the Kings when this guy is on his game, not to shabby for a kid from our neck of the woods. You can follow me on twitter here: @mattjacob64