Late last night, another franchise icon was sent packing. The Los Angeles Kings agreed to trade Jonathan Quick, along with a conditional 2023 first-round pick and 2024 third-round pick to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Vladislav Gavrikov and Joonas Korpisalo. The deal has now been officially announced, with the conditions revealed.
They’re very simple. If the Kings qualify for the playoffs this year, they will give Columbus a first-round pick. If they miss, they will owe second-round picks in 2023 and 2024.
The move must be bittersweet for Kings fans, who have cheered on Quick for more than a decade. On the one hand, the team is shipping out the most successful goaltender in franchise history, the backbone of its two Stanley Cup teams and winner of the 2012 Conn Smythe trophy. On the other, Quick’s performance had declined significantly this season, and the club is poised to make a serious playoff run if they can improve the goaltending.
Through 31 appearances this season, Quick has a save percentage of just .876, easily the worst of his career. The uber-athletic goaltender has seemed a step behind the play, and can’t seem to string together multiple good starts. In his last appearance as a King, he allowed three goals on seven shots before being pulled less than halfway through the game.
Still, this is a goaltender that has more than twice as many wins as the next-best in Kings history. Quick’s 370 career wins not only dwarves second-place Rogie Vachon’s 171, but put him 19th on the all-time NHL list. Despite never winning a Vezina Trophy (his closest came in 2012 when he finished second), Quick has a decent chance of reaching the Hall of Fame eventually as one of only 17 goaltenders to win the Conn Smythe. Add in an Olympic silver medal and two Jennings trophies, and it was a pretty productive career for the 2005 third-round pick.
The Kings are focused on this season, though, and bringing in two players to help them compete in the playoffs.
Gavrikov, 27, has been talked about for months, and was moved out of the lineup by Columbus for two weeks before they eventually moved him. The big, rangy defenseman can contribute in many ways, and could find even more success playing on a Kings blueline that can give him more support. With the Blue Jackets, he was likely asked to do too much, playing more than 22 minutes a night as their most reliable option, once Zach Werenski went down to injury.
Korpisalo is perhaps the more interesting addition, though, if only because he has caught fire of late. The 28-year-old goaltender has a .911 save percentage on the season, but that number rises to .916 if you look at his last ten, in which he has lost in regulation just three times. Those may not sound like earth-shattering numbers, but on a Columbus team that is one of the worst in the league, they are encouraging.
The Blue Jackets are getting not only two significant draft picks, but also an asset in Quick that might have some extra value. Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic tweets that Columbus will check around to see if they can flip the veteran goaltender to a contending team.
At the very least they come away from another deadline with a first-round pick. Gavrikov was expected to test the free agent market, while Korpisalo was likely on his last legs with the team, as they prepare to turn over that roster spot to Daniil Tarasov.