During the 2007-08 season, the LA Kings tied the NHL record for most goalies used in a season by dressing seven different net minders.
While the bulk of the season was played by veterans like Jason LaBarbera (45 games) and Jean-Sebastien Aubin (19 games), it was a three-game contribution from a third round draft pick out of Milford, Connecticut that wound up having the greatest impact on the team's future.
On December 6, 2007, Jonathan Quick played his first NHL game, an 8-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres.
Quick failed to win his next two games, but he had already made an impression on the coaching staff over the summer at Rookie Camp.
Coach Marc Crawford said Erik Ersberg and Quick played well during the Kings' rookie camp last week. They will get work in camp, as will Bernier, who the Kings made their first round choice with the 11th overall pick in 2006.
"The best opportunity will go to the older players," Crawford said. "But the younger guys will get their chance too to force us to look at them a little more."
Though he started the following season (2008-09) in Manchester, Quick was recalled on December 16, 2008.
His first appearance of the season came when he was called upon to replace starter Jason LaBarbera during the third period of a 5-0 loss to the Sabres.
Though his first start of the season was equally disappointing, a 6-4 loss to the Red Wings the following night, he improved quickly. Over the next three games, he posted his first and second career shutouts.
During that stretch, he had a .958 SV% and allowed just two goals on his way to being named the NHL's Third Star of the Week.
After just nine NHL appearances, and a 3-5 record, the Kings had seen all they needed to from Quick. On December 30, 2008, the LA Kings traded their starting goaltender, Jason LaBarbera, to the Vancouver Canucks for a seventh round draft pick.
"We think Quick is at the level where he can be able to do at least the backup role," General Manager Dean Lombardi said. "We thought this would take a little longer for him, but we think we can accelerate things."Quick appeared in 38 of the teams remaining 45 games. He finished the season with a 21-18-2 record in 44 games, .914 SV%, 2.48 GAA and four shutouts.
More importantly, he established himself as the unquestioned starting goaltender for the Kings heading into the 2009-10 season.
"It's unfair for us not to anoint Jon going into camp as the top guy based on what he's done and Erik as the No. 2 guy based on what he's done, and everybody else underneath," said assistant general manager Ron Hextall, whose NHL goaltending resume gives him insight into this eternal mystery.
"Coming into camp if it's a horse race, yeah, Quicker's in the lead. He's played more games than anybody else. But that doesn't mean it can't change."
The 2009-10 season was the first time the Kings made the playoffs since 2001-02. During which, Quick set franchise records for wins (39) and games played (72).
In 2010-11, Quick improved his personal stats while leading the Kings to a second consecutive playoff appearance.
In Game 2 of the first round of the 2011 playoffs, he earned his first NHL Playoff shutout against the San Jose Sharks in a 34 save effort. Three games later, he rebounded from consecutive losses with a 51 save win to push the series to a Game 6.
The Kings were considered strong Stanley Cup contenders heading into the 2011-12 season after acquiring Mike Richards from the Philadelphia Flyers during the offseason. While the team struggled to score and ultimately replaced coach Terry Murray after 29 games, Quick turned in a career year. Appearing in 69 games, he put up almost identical statistics to the eventual Vezina winner, Henrik Lundqvist. Quick's 35-21-13 record, .929 SV%, 1.95GAA and 10 shutouts in the regular season was just the opening act.
On his way to winning the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the Stanley Cup Playoffs, Jonathan Quick led the Kings on their improbably dominant run to the Cup. His 0.946 SV% is a record for Cup winners and he added three more playoff shutouts to his career statistics. Not content to merely steal goals from opposing forwards, Quick found a way to steal hearts off the ice too.
While the 2012 Kings had playoff dominance, the 2014 Kings had playoff durability as each of the first three rounds went the full, grueling seven games. All three deciding games came on the road and the Kings outscored their opponents 16-7 in those games. If winning three consecutive Game 7's on the road wasn't dramatic enough, Quick followed it up by being unbeatable when it counted in the Final. Three of the four wins came in OT (two of them in 2OT) and the fourth win was his ninth career playoff shutout, a 3-0 Game 4 win in Madison Square Garden.
Shutouts have become somewhat routine during his remarkable career with the most recent coming on his 500th game against Montreal on October 26th. In 493 regular season starts, Quick has held the opposing team scoreless 46 times. That's 9.3% or roughly 1 shutout per 11 starts.
In the playoffs, it drops down to 1 shutout for every 9 games. Sometimes it even seems that he can stop the puck with his mind.
It's clear that Jonathan Quick is crucial to the success of the Kings and the contrast between last October and this October perfectly illustrates the difference his presence can make.
Last season, injuries limited Quick to 16 games and the Kings had to rely on a quartet of additional net minders to fill in. In his first season, he was just one of 7 goalies to play for the Kings. In the eight subsequent seasons leading up to 2016-17, the Kings used just 7 goalies to serve as his backup.
Clearly, there is no replacing Jonathan Quick.