Two-time Stanley Cup winning goalie Jonathan Quick has been activated from LTIR by the Los Angeles Kings, as first reported by TSN’s Frank Seravalli, and is scheduled to make his first appearance in more than four months this afternoon as the team prepares to play host to the Anaheim Ducks. Quick has been sidelined due to a groin injury suffered in the first period of the 2016-17 season opener. It’s hoped the return of the veteran netminder will help propel the Kings, currently five points behind Nashville for the second wild card spot in the Western Conference, back into a postseason slot.
The Kings have relied primarily on veteran backup backstop Peter Budaj with Quick sidelined. Budaj has more than held his own in 51 starts, tying his career high in Save % with a 0.917 mark and posting a career-best 2.12 GAA. He also leads the league in both shutouts (7) and losses (20).
It’s hard to fault the goaltending for the team’s struggles given Budaj’s strong performance but Quick’s return will certainly provide a boost for the Kings down the stretch. Additionally, any idea the Kings may have entertained about acquiring a veteran backstop at the trade deadline can be shelved and the club can instead focus their efforts and resources on upgrading other areas of the roster.
In addition to Quick, forward Jordan Nolan was also activated from IR by the team, according to Helene Elliot of the LA Times. Nolan, who has missed the last three weeks due to a lower-body injury, has four goals and eight points in 41 contests this season. While not much of an offensive threat, the gritty pivot adds size and physicality to the team’s fourth line.
With Quick’s return, the Kings have reassigned Jeff Zatkoff to Ontario of the AHL. Zatkoff, who cleared waivers earlier this week, has struggled between the pipes for L.A., winning just two of eight starts and compiling a Save % of just 0.879 and a GAA of nearly three.