Kings deal Cup-winning G Quick to Blue Jackets
- Ryan S. Clark is an NHL reporter for ESPN.
Two-time Stanley Cup-winning goaltender Jonathan Quick has been traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Quick is being dealt to Columbus along with a conditional first-round pick and a third-round pick in 2023 for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, the Blue Jackets announced Wednesday. The first-round pick is conditional on the Kings making the playoffs and would become two second-round picks (in 2023 and 2024) if they do not.
Quick, who backstopped the Los Angeles Kings’ only NHL title runs in 2012 and 2014, backed up Pheonix Copley in a 6-5 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Tuesday night before being informed he was being traded.
As the Kings jockey for playoff positioning in the Western Conference — they are tied with the Vegas Golden Knights for first place in the Pacific Division at 76 points — Copley had taken over for Quick, a three-time All-Star, as the club’s No. 1 netminder.
One of the most decorated American-born goaltenders in NHL history, 37-year-old Quick is third overall on that list with 370 career wins, behind John Vanbiesbrouck and Ryan Miller. The Connecticut native carries a $5.8 million salary cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent in July.
“Jonathan Quick is a two-time Stanley Cup winner who has been an outstanding goaltender in our league for a long time and this deal provides us with draft capital that will be valuable as we move forward as an organization,” Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen said in a statement. “It’s never easy to trade players like Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo as they have been exceptional Blue Jackets but given our current position these moves were in our club’s best interest. They are wonderful individuals, and we will always appreciate the contributions they made while they were here.”
The Blue Jackets entered Wednesday with the worst record in the NHL with 46 points in 61 games and are on track to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.
Korpisalo, 28, carries a reasonable $1.3 million salary cap hit in the final year of his deal and will likely back up Conley in Los Angeles. He is 11-11-3 with a 3.17 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage this season.
He has had playoff success before, as evidenced during the 2020 playoffs in the Toronto bubble, when he made 85 saves in a 3-2, five-overtime win against the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning in a first-round series.
But what made Korpisalo a potential trade target was the Blue Jackets’ long-term situation in goal. They have Elvis Merzlikins in the first season of a five-year deal and another promising goaltender, Daniil Tarasov, playing for their AHL affiliate.
Gavrikov, 27, is a steady, stay-at-home defenseman who attracted interest from several teams. He is in the final year of his contract with a $2.8 million salary cap hit.
What made Gavrikov attractive to teams was the fact that he was among the Blue Jackets’ leaders in 5-on-5 ice time and can be used to anchor a penalty-killing unit. Before being held out of the lineup for trade purposes, Gavrikov had three goals and 10 points in 52 games while averaging 22:20 in ice time.
Finding a way to address their defensive issues was a primary narrative surrounding the Kings entering the trade deadline, with Tuesday’s game serving as an example. The Kings had to rally from a two-goal deficit in the first period to beat the Jets. Although the win kept them level with the Golden Knights, the struggle to win served as another reminder of what has been a season-long issue.
The Kings were initially believed to be interested in Coyotes defenseman Jakob Chychrun, but Arizona’s asking price was believed to be too high.
A third-round pick in 2005, Quick was part of the Kings’ youth movement that also featured Dustin Brown, Drew Doughty and Anze Kopitar. Together, the group broke through to win two Stanley Cups. But while Kopitar remained a top-six center and Doughty a top-pairing defenseman, Quick began to struggle. The Kings entered this season with Quick and Cal Petersen, who was in the first of a three-year extension worth $5 million annually. Quick won seven of his first 16 starts but has a 3.31 GAA and a .890 save percentage in 2022-23.
Petersen didn’t fare any better, posting a 3.75 GAA and a .868 save percentage, which led to the Kings placing him on waivers and sending him to their AHL affiliate. They promoted Copley from the AHL, and he has gone 17-4-2 with a 2.74 GAA and a .901 save percentage.
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