There was not a single reason that the Los Angeles Kings were able to win the Stanley Cup that is larger than Jonathan Quick.
Quick spent the 2011-2012 season establishing himself among the league’s elite netminders. When all was said and done last year, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say he was the best in the game. In fact, heading into the new season, you could still make the argument that he is.
The ’11-’12 season was filled with stretches of great play, followed by brilliance from Quick. He quite literally put the team on his back and helped to carry a team that struggled offensively all year into the postseason. Once in the postseason, they turned the offense on, but Quick continued to dominate as well, which made this club nearly unbeatable.
Quick finished the season with a 35 wins, a 1.95 GAA, and a .929 save percentage, to go along with 10 shutouts. He was snubbed as the Vezina Trophy winner, but he did take home the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP.
However, as terrific as he was last season, is there a reason to expect Quick’s play to fall off just a bit? Concerns over such an occurance may just be valid.
The first reason for a potential decline in his numbers this season is the back surgery he underwent during the offseason. It was a minor surgery, but he may not have been ready for the regular season if it had started on time. Which is part of the reason that the Kings held on to Jonathan Bernier.
That back surgery shouldn’t prevent him from playing well or seeing a decline in starts, but the fact that he hasn’t played in a game since the surgery could lead to a slow start.
In addition to the surgery, there’s simply the expectation that Quick will not be as good as he was in 2011-12. Does he really have another 10 shutouts in him this season? That’s not necessarily my view, but it’s tough to head into the new season with those types of expectations.
There are valid reasons to expect a bit of a decline in the performance on Jonathan Quick. No one is expecting him to fall flat on his face and struggle throughout the season, but one would have to expect his numbers to dip and his performance to come back to Earth just a little bit.
Of course, we could all be wrong and Quick could, once again, rule the NHL in 2013.