Speculation can and will run rampant about the Stanley Cup victory for the Los Angeles Kings and whether or not the team deserved it, dominating playoff performance aside. There is, however, little doubt that the Kings’ goalie Jonathan Quick is deserving of the Conn Smythe Trophy.
Quick was the absolute foundation of the Kings’ team and their run to the Cup. The club went on a 16-4 run in the playoffs and rolled over several credible threats.
Through it all, Quick was the most dominant player on a dominant team. He only allowed more than three goals twice in the post-season. He finished with a .946 save percentage and a 1.41 goals against average. In six games against the Devils, he was only scored against seven times.
Quick now holds the best goals against average in the post-season for a goalie playing in over ten playoff games since Frank Brimsek, who posted a 1.25 GAA for the Bruins way back in 1939.
The 26-year-old goalie has been notoriously underestimated and the barbs will continue to suggest that he and his team somehow don’t deserve the Cup, but there’s little arguing with the facts. Quick, a big Mike Richter fan, has done it – naysayers be damned.
“Jonathan Quick’s been like that,” said Luc Robitaille, Kings president of business operations. “No one knows about it, but he’s been playing this way. Look at his stats for the last three years – they’re phenomenal.”
Quick is just the third American-born player to win the Conn Smythe Trophy, fitting in line nicely behind Brian Leetch and Tim Thomas. He’s just the third goalie to be named as the playoff MVP since the NHL lockout, too, although he is the second goalie to win it in as many years.
“He’s been our most consistent player all year,” said forward Mike Richards. “Really the big reason why we made the playoffs is because he was so consistent, played the same way every night.”
Even the Kings’ Cup rivals were impressed. “He’s a pretty good goalie technically. He doesn’t give up tons of rebounds. He’s really aggressive, so he shuts down the rebounds,” said Martin Brodeur.
As for the spotlight, Quick is going to have to get used to it – even though he’s not a fan. “I don’t, to be honest, really enjoy it,” Quick said of facing down reporters. “When I think of the finals, I don’t think of being here in front of you guys. I think of going and playing a hockey game at the highest level.”
Quick will hope to return to that highest level when the next season starts, but for now he’ll have some time to enjoy the moment.