Kings Player Grades, Crowned Royal Style: Jonathan Quick
In this series, we will post a new grade daily for each player that suited up for the Kings in 2010-2011. Since no one here is a credited teacher or NHL scout, we will rate players in the way we are most qualified: by comparing them to the alcoholic beverage that best represents their play on the ice.
Your Los Angeles Kings: leading cause of alcoholism among Southern California hockey fans since 1967.
Jonathan Quick – Tito’s Vodka
“Tito’s Handmade Vodka is designed to be savored by spirit connoisseurs and everyday drinkers alike. It’s time-honored method of distillation requires more skill and effort than modern column stills, but it’s well worth it.”
-Tito Beveridge (actual name)
Tito’s is still not well known enough to have any major online publication reviews, but most of the booze blogs said basically, “Tito’s is worth twice what it sells for”. Those who know it, swear by it’s value. In fact, it has been rated among the best vodkas on the market. This is an actual picture of the bottle:
..And some rate it higher than names many have come to know as the best. Obviously, this isn’t the most commonly held opinion, but it’s safe to assume they have their reasons.
The bottom line right now with Jonathan Quick is value. At $1.8MM through 2012-13, he is the best bargain in the NHL at any position, and this is tremendously important with the Kings’ dire cap situation for next season.
Quick was arguably the Kings most consistent player of the season, at a position that often sees inconsistency throughout the league. Sure, he got chased out of the net in a few games, but those were mostly the product defensive breakdowns or offensive/neutral zone turnovers much moreso than goaltending ineptitude.
Strengths: near perfect positional play, terrific rebound control, and a tenacity for loose pucks that can make the Kings defense look better than it is; fiercely swift side-to-side movement, which was a big reason why he went a perfect 10-0 in shootouts this season, a feat which went a bit more unnoticed than it should have (though he has Jarret Stoll largely to thank).
Weaknesses: tendency to let in weak goals, though this is improving with his growth; cited as utilizing technique and conditioning moreso than raw talent – not a big drawback, but the commonly held belief is that his ceiling is somewhat lacking when compared to Bernier’s.
Quick’s future is only in question because of former first round draft pick Jonathan Bernier, and as mentioned, their respective ceilings. At some point, Dean Lombardi may have to decide which one of these young players will be his franchise netminder, and try to get some value from another organization for the other while it’s still high. At this point there is no indication that Quick is not his guy, and deservedly so.
Still improving at age 25, Kings fans should be excited to see just how much better Quick can get. Hopefully, the skeptics are selling his talent potential somewhat short, as his poise, durability, and attitude are enviable traits for any goaltender.