Then he did it again in 2014.
Though the Kings haven’t won a Stanley Cup Playoff series since, Quick’s competitive drive set the standard during a rebuild that’s nearing its payoff this season.
That the 37-year-old goalie won’t be around to see Los Angeles make the next move added a bittersweet note to trade on Wednesday, which sent him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that brought the defender back added flavor Vladislav Gavrikov and goalkeeper Joonas Korpisalo.
“If you look at basically everything the Kings have done, start with that Jonathan Schnellsaid Calgary Flames forward Tyler Toffoli, who played in the 2014 cup team. “Then you obviously go to Dustin Brown and Drew Doughty And Anze Kopitar. I think (the trade is) definitely a surprise for everyone.”
(RELATED: Quickly traded to Blue Jackets for Gavrikov, Korpisalo)
The Kings (34-20-8), who tied for first place in the Pacific Division on Wednesday with the Vegas Golden Knights, were also a conditional first-round pick in the 2023 NHL Draft and a third-round pick in 2024 round of the NHL Draft, no doubt improving their chances of getting out of the Western Conference’s wide-open side of the playoff bracket. But Quick’s departure after 16 seasons with Los Angeles drew just as much attention because it signaled the end of an era.
The Kings’ third-round pick (No. 72) in the 2005 NHL draft, Quick is their all-time leader for regular-season wins (370), shutouts (57), and games played (743), and keeping all singles goaltenders -Records of the season including games played (72 in 2009/10 and 2014/15), wins (40 in 2015/16), shutouts (10 in 2011/12), goals against average (1.95 in 2011/12 ) and saves percent (0.929 in 2011–12).
Quick also holds every Kings playoff record for goaltenders, including games played (92), wins (49), GAA (2.31), save percentage (.921), and shutouts (10). He won the Conn Smythe Trophy for most valuable player in the playoffs in 2012 when he set an NHL postseason record with a 1.41 GAA (minimum 1,000 minutes).
“Jonathan Quick is the best goalie that has ever played in this organization let alone the league and he has taken this team to the highest level with a handful of players in the organization in two different times and throughout his career,” said Kings general manager Rob Blake said. “We are so grateful for what he has been able to do as a player, as a person, as he, his family and his children for this organization. We owe him a debt of gratitude for what he was able to do for us.”
Quick’s 3.50 GAA and .876 save percentage in 31 games this season (11-13-4) are his worst since he had 3.84 GAA and .855 save percentage in three games as a rookie in 2007-08.
Still, Blake acknowledged that trading Quick, who is in the final season of a 10-year contract and poised to become a full free agent after this season, was not an easy decision. Blake stayed in Los Angeles to work with the 2023 NHL Trade Deadline, which is approaching 3:00 p.m. ET Friday, so he had to quickly break the trade news in a phone call late Tuesday after the 6-5 win of the Kings announce jets in shootout in Winnipeg.
Blake declined to reveal the details of the call but said it was probably the most difficult he’s made in his nearly six years as a Kings GM.
“I was back here in LA, so unfortunately the conversation about the trade had to take place over the phone after the game,” Blake said. “That’s just how things developed. It couldn’t wait until morning to do it in person. That’s how it had to develop.”
Video: Kings send franchise icon Jonathan Quick to Columbus
Blake said Quick’s involvement in the trade caused disappointment and shock among Kings players, including captain Kopitar and defender Doughty, the last remaining members of the 2012 Cup team. Along with Brown, a forward who resigned after last season , Kopitar, Doughty and Quick were the pillars of these championships.
Quick’s hatred of losing – and giving up goals – set the standard in their dressing room.
“I’ve never seen a guy that competitive, that playful, a guy who takes chances in big games and shows up when it counts,” said the Golden Knights defenseman Alec Martineza member of the 2012 and 2014 Cup teams. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen goalkeeping performance as consistent as he has over a period of time.
“To put it simply, he’s been making saves, some of which come to mind (during) that run of 12, which I don’t think any goalie, let alone human being, has anything to do with.”
That was true in practice too, when the puck landed in the net behind Quick, which the Flames forward often resulted in “a few broken racquets and a few swear words”. Trevor Lewisalso a member of these championship teams.
“He was always out there competing,” Lewis said. “I think that’s what made him so good.”
In the 2012 Cup final against the New Jersey Devils, Quick defeated Martin Broduer, a four-time winner of the Vezina Trophy for the NHL’s top goaltender who was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2018. In the 2014 finals against the New York Rangers Quick defeated Henrik Lundqvist, who won the 2012 Vezina and is poised to be elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame when he is first eligible later this year.
Flames coach Darryl Sutter, the Kings coach in 2012 and 2014, said Quick took those direct showdowns personally.
“That was his challenge,” Sutter said. “He wanted to be better than the other goalkeeper.”
Knowing Quick’s competitive nature, Sutter had a prediction for his next chapter.
“His whole thing is going to be that he wants to show somebody (they’re wrong),” Sutter said. “I guarantee that.”
That opportunity will not present itself this season with the Blue Jackets far from playoff contenders. But Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen said he’s spoken to Quick and his agent and will try to find an opportunity to trade him for a playoff contender before the deadline.
“We will try to do the right thing and we will keep in touch with him and we still have a lot of time here,” said Korpisalo. “Lets see what happens.”
Columbus plays in Los Angeles on March 16th. Whether Quick returns to the Crypto.com Arena that day with the Blue Jackets or with another team this season remains to be seen.
But there seems little doubt that one day he will be back there to be honored much like Brown, who had his number retired and a statue unveiled outside the arena on February 11.
“I don’t have the last word on that, by any means,” Blake said. “But by far he deserves it as much as a few other guys in this organization.”
NHL.com independent correspondents Aaron Vickers and Paul Delos Santos contributed to this report