This trade deadline season, the Vegas Golden Knights traded for three players that had never played for another NHL team before. Both Ivan Barbashev and Teddy Blueger had never played anywhere else than in the St. Louis and Pittsburgh organizations respectively.
They both had solid careers with their respective teams, with Barbashev even winning a Stanley Cup with the Blues in 2019. But both can't compare to the legacy the newest member of the Golden Knights, Jonathan Quick had with his now former team, the Los Angeles Kings.
After being drafted in the third round of the 2005 NHL Draft, Quick spent 16 years with the Kings organization winning two Stanley Cups, two Jennings Trophies, and a Conn Smythe Trophy in 2012 as the playoffs' MVP. You can easily argue that Quick is the greatest Kings goaltender of all time.
But with Quick's glory days coming roughly a decade ago and his play falling off these last few years, the Kings decided to go in a different direction with their goaltending. On Wednesday, they traded Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in a deal that involved Joonas Korpisalo and Vladislav Gavrikov.
"It came as a shock to me when I got the phone call. It is what it is man. You've got to move on. They're moving on and I've got to move on so I am looking to this group here," said Quick.
It was reported that after the trade was made, the 37-year-old pending UFA goaltender was upset that he wouldn't get to finish out his career with the Kings. However, amidst their own goaltending injuries, the Golden Knights and general manager Kelly McCrimmon swooped in and traded for Quick.
"There are a ton of emotions obviously considering how much time my family and I spent there. But at the end of the day, they made a decision that they felt was best for their team… I am looking forward to joining this team, these guys have been great so far making me feel comfortable," said Quick.
It was clear that the Blue Jackets wanted to do right by Quick and not force him to move cross-country to a team out of the playoff race at the end of his career. With the Golden Knights, Quick gets to stay relatively close to home and remain in a hunt for a Stanley Cup.
"(Blue Jackets GM) Jarmo (Kekalainen) couldn't have been more helpful. From our first phone call. I am very grateful to him and the Blue Jackets organization and how they handled it with the amount of respect that they showed me," said Quick.
Quick joins a Golden Knights team that sits atop the Pacific Division despite having a carousel of goaltenders all season. Last summer, it was announced that Robin Lehner would miss the year with a hip injury. With Laurent Brossoit on the shelf at the time the Golden Knights traded for Adin Hill and rolled with him and Logan Thompson for the majority of this season.
But most recently, Thompson suffered a week-to-week lower-body injury and both Hill and Brossoit altered having lower-body injuries. Hill has managed to come back and play the last few games, but having him and Michael Hutchinson was not a safe play in the Golden Knight's eyes.
“We have liked our goaltending all year… unfortunately the health part of it is a problem right now. After Friday you can’t address that need if need be,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy who says both Brossoit and Thompson are not coming back "in immediate future.”
General manager Kelly McCrimmon added that Brossoit's injury has nothing to do with his previous offseason surgery and that he also expects Thompson to return before the end of the regular season.
For Quick, despite not being the player he once was before, he gets an opportunity to come in and compete for a spot with a team loaded with goalies.
“We know where he is in his career, but he's also a two-time Stanley Cup champion that can bring other things to the room as well as on the ice. For us, we looked at it as an opportunity to upgrade. It's no reflection on the other three guys and gives us some level of insurance” said Cassidy.
It shouldn't take long for Quick to feel at home in Vegas. He has played with several players on the current roster such as Brayden McNabb, Ben Hutton, Michael Amadio, and Alec Martinez with the Kings and even with Phil Kessel and Jack Eichel in Team USA events.
"It's awesome. I obviously played a long time with him. Way back we were roommates in the minors together and we won together obviously. Johnny is probably the most competitive guy I have ever played with. He's a gamer. His reputation and his history speak for themselves," said Martinez.
The logical first starting opportunity for Quick could come Sunday at 3:00 p.m. as the Golden Knights play the Montreal Canadiens at home.