2012 SCF Lessons: Jonathan Quick – Build from the net out?

We see it every year: teams, media and fans looking at the Stanley Cup champion and trying to determine what lessons should be learned from the team. This year, goaltender Jonathan Quick won the Conn Smythe Trophy as playoff MVP. Should that indicate that a franchise goaltender is what every team needs to target?

Quick was a third round pick in 2005, and spent two years in college before turning pro. When he did enter the professional ranks in 2007-08 he started slowly, posting a 0.905 SV% in the ECHL. There was no aura of invincibility there – against ECHL shooters, Quick allowed 3+ goals in 21 of 38 starts. He improved markedly once he reached the AHL, however, and even got a brief NHL cameo as one of seven goalies used by the Kings that season.

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The next year, Jonathan Quick was the Kings’ starting goalie, leapfrogging every other ‘tender in the system to play 44 games, posting a 0.914 SV% in the process. He played 72 games the following season – posting a sub-average 0.907 SV% – and entering 2010-11 was widely regarded as something of a placeholder for the more highly-touted Jonathan Bernier. Bernier, the 11th overall pick in 2006, had been highly impressive over two AHL seasons, and in the minds of many it was a matter of when rather than if he took the reins from Quick.

Quick held him off in 2010-11 with his best-ever NHL season; 61 games played and a 0.918 SV%. Then came this season, when Quick was the principle reason that an offensively challenged Kings’ team was able to stay anywhere near the playoff race. He earned every win, allowing two or fewer goals in 32 of 35 victories. Quick got even stingier in the playoffs, allowing three goals on just two occasions. The Kings got franchise-level goaltending this season.

The really interesting thing is how perceptions of Quick have changed over the past two years. In the summer of 2010 he was coming off a 72-game season where he had posted a below average save percentage; the Kings’ response was to sign him to a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $1.8 million. Interestingly, the deal was front-loaded – $1.9 million in the first year, $1.7 million in the last – and it was exactly the sort of contract a goaltender gets when a team isn’t sure if the player is a starter or a backup.

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The Kings went out looking for high-end goaltending, just not from Quick. They invested an 11th overall draft pick in Bernier, developed him at a model pace, and kept Quick in place with a contract that would allow him to move into a backup role if Bernier’s play warranted it. Quick was a pleasant surprise.

If anything, the Kings’ experience with Quick shows how difficult goaltenders are to project, and how much can change in a short period of time. Quick went from a sub-average ECHL goalie to an NHL starter in a single season. Then he went from a run of the mill talent to an elite level in two seasons.

The lesson I take from the Kings is not that it’s essential to lock down an elite starting goaltender; it’s that elite, starter-calibre goaltending can come from surprising candidates. Applying this to the Oilers, it’s hard not to look at Devan Dubnyk. Dubnyk and Quick are the same age; one year ago Quick posted a 0.918 SV% in 61 games for the Kings while Dubnyk was a 0.916 SV% goalie in 35 games for the Oilers. Quick leapt forward this season; Dubnyk stumbled early and lost his starting gig (though of course he came on strong at the end of the season).

I also think that Quick is a good example of what a team’s drafting strategy should be with respect to goalies – by all means, take one every year, but wait until later in the draft. The Oilers have done a good job of that the last few seasons, landing prospects like Olivier Roy and Tyler Bunz who were lightly regarded in their draft years. Both players are far from surefire NHL’ers, but then again both have been exceptional early in their careers.

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Because sometimes, those young goalie prospects with both good points and bad points, or those project picks later in the draft payoff in a big way.

I also recommend Cam Charron’s article at Leafs Nation where he draws lessons from this year’s champions.

This week by Jonathan Willis

  • vetinari

    Also, using LA as a model, we know that:

    1. internal competition is a good thing between goaltenders;

    2. be prepared to throw out your depth chart if a player is showing unusual aptitude or progress at the position and just “go with the flow”;

    3. development time is crucial in bringing a ‘tender along; and,

    4. for the love of [email protected], don’t sign an aging, injury prone, underperforming goaltender to a 4 year +35 contract.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    3 years ago the story was you just needed adaquate goalteding, and then spend your money elsewhere.

    The last two years have been all about elite goaltending.

    Moral of the story: Thier is no secret formula to winning the cup. Collect as many good to great players as you can, fill in the gaps with cheap roll players and then hope for alot of luck.

    • Though it’s worth noting that the Kings didn’t spend money on goaltending either; Quick was a bargain contract.

      I do agree, though: there is no secret formula, no one right way to win it all. It’s worth looking at what successful teams do well, but there’s no model to follow slavishly.

    • oilersplumber

      Nope……they will want an arm and a leg and 3 pounds of back bacon for Bernie…..be patient though…..Dubnyk and then Bunz…..Tylers an amazing talent………been watching him for years and had a couple of my sons played against him also…..and he regularly killed our teams by himself…………can’t say it enough……..hes going to do some amazing things. You heard it here first !

  • Spydyr

    Drafting – the core of this LA team is Doughty, Kopitar, Brown and Quick. They picked up other pieces of the puzzle by having highly desirable prospects/young players. Brayden Schenn and Wayne Simmonds, Jack Johnson, Colton Teubert and the ability to move a 1st round pick. They still have Jonathan Bernier and kids like Voynov to deal if they had to add any other components. Taking the best player available in the draft…will improve your franchise as long as other teams covet what you have.

    Thomas Hickey, the Kings reached to grab him, a defenceman that wasn’t on the radar at the time. Injuries have taken their toll on Hickey, but he’s been surpassed by many other Kings prospects. The danger of reaching with your picks.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ JW

    Bruins were paying 6.25 for goaltending when they won.

    Anyways, I was talking less about the $$’s and more about where the talent lines up on the ice.

  • sometimes you hit blackjack!

    you can reflect that it was a well calculated and strategic selection of Jonathan Quick in Round 3 – but it wasn’t – it was a gem amongst the duds.

    but give credit where its due – its not like LA just did it with Quick. Their later round draft picks were contributing factors to this year’s cup.

    32 pk – Voynov
    186 pk – Jordan Nolan
    95 pk – Alex Martinez

    also developing Simmonds and Schenn to land you Richards

    • DSF

      And acquiring Jack Johnson who was later moved for Carter.

      Lombardi was very clear than he was collecting defensemen because he knew how valuable they can become.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Im not sold. When Chicago won, the hip belief was that goaltending was overated. When Boston won, everyone assumed teams would goon it up this year. LA won because they came together at the perfect time.
    Champions dont dictate the direction of the league like they used to because of the parity.When we start to see back to back cups, or even final appearances from teams not from detroit or with Sidney Crosby on their roster,I’ll break out my pen and paper and take notes.

  • DSF

    JW…Lombardi was playing the averages.

    With Quick already in the system, he took two goalies in 2006:

    Bernier – 1st round

    Zatkoff – 3rd round

    Signed Martin Jones as a free agent in 2008.

    Drafted JF Berube in the 3rd round in 2009.

    And then drafted Chris Gibson with his first pick in 2010.

    With that many bullets in the chamber, difficult to miss.

      • I just wanted to see if you remembered our discussion on The Cult of Hockey’ live blog earlier this season about Quick being one of the top 5 goalies in the NHL, Jonathan. Just so… You know. I’d be able to gloat and say I told you so 🙂

      • DSF


        But remember, Lombardi had Quick when he began his 6 year run to the cup.

        And, he took Bernier in the first round early on.

        I guess the Oilers would have been in much better shape had JDD not busted and Dubnyk looking like an average goaltender at best.

        • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

          So what you are saying is that Lombardi did an excellent job with his tenders by bringing in the roughly the same amount of goalies as everyone else, but getting lucky in having one that was there before him develop into an elite goalie.

  • BurkeTheTurd

    I really hope the Oilers can get a little luck of there own with one of DD, Roy or Bunz.
    Get a good performance there, few D men to fill some gaps, and upgrade few small things at forward and we are battling for a playoff spot.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    @ DSF

    How much do you want to bet almost every team in the league has drafted/signed a similar number of goalies over that time frame?

  • RexLibris


    I absolutely agree with your assessments here, Jonathan.

    The Stanley Cup Champions for any given year offer an opportunity to learn. The problem I find is that too often the wrong lessons are taken away from the experience.

    As stated above, there is no single cut-and-copy method: build from the back end out, build down the middle, get a stud #1 defenseman, etc.

    A simpleton’s conclusion would be: Quick was drafted in the third round. Perhonen was drafted in the third round. Ergo, Perhonen ought to become as good as Quick.

    The lesson that I would take from the 2012 Champions is that it pays to develop internally and draft prodigiously. The Oilers have become a much-improved franchise in these areas, but time will tell if the results are near the same.

    Bunz, Roy, Perhonen, Tuohimaa and perhaps another goaltending prospect added in a few weeks will all contribute to the likelihood that the Oilers will develop a good goaltender along the way.

    Actually, I think that there is one absolute conclusion that one can take away from the Kings’ Championship this spring: the secret to winning is to beat your opponent.

    Just a thought.

  • RexLibris

    Belfour and CUJO were never drafted.
    I think one of the reason it’s hard to predict goalies is the poor coaching at the minor hockey levels. So they bloom later then defenseman and forwards. Yet another reason to increase draft age.

  • RexLibris

    In the regular season:
    with the d pair of:

    quick had a save % of .942

    Quick had a Save% of .924

    quick had a save% .918

    I think the secret is to have 2 of the top 15 d pairs and your third pair being as good as most average teams 2nd pair.

  • Quicksilver ballet

    Now that the Kings have their leader in goal for the foreseeable future, it could be a good time to see how committed they are to Jonathan Bernier.

    I’d feel much better about our prospects in goal with Bernier and Dubnyk/Khabibulin. Bunz,Perhonen and Roy all may be 2 yrs away from seeing even a temp roster spot on the Oilers roster.

  • DSF

    LA had won the cup cause

    1.they had 6 of the best tough Competion forwards since the lockout.
    Wiliams was acquired in trade
    kopitar was drafted 7 years ago
    Brown was drafted 9 years ago.
    penner was trade for 2 years ago.
    Richards was traded for this year
    Stoll was traded for 4 years ago.

    Fraser was the fourth line according to Sutter.
    was traded for this year.
    Carter was traded for this year.gagne was a UFA

    king, lewis, and Nolan were draft picks.

    the key to a strong d pair is having elite shutdown dmen. they are rarely avilable as ufa’s and when you have a chance to get them, you do.

    offensive Dmen who require good shutdown dmen to cover the liabilty are more readily avialable in the draft and free agency.

    when i look at LA’s shut down Dmen. Man.

    Mitchell allways been tough comp. UFA 2010

    Scuderi was the tough comp who carried Pitt to the cup. And now in LA. UFA 2009

    Matt greene is a physical precence who is one of the rare top 50 in PK, Hits and Blocks stoll /greene trade 2008.

    Doughty drafted 2008 2nd overall
    voynov 2008 2nd round
    martinez 2007 4th round

    most of the young drafted players arrival is 4-5 years after there draft.

    Most of the competitive core is in the peak performance period of age 25-30.

    our team is likely 4-6 years away.

  • The Oilers Shot Clock

    Were these playoffs as much of a farce as they were an anomaly? Has there been a more boring finals in the last ten years?
    The NHL front office must be taking solace that the cup is spending time on an american beach this summer because theres not many other ways to spin it.
    Poor NBC….they were a couple years too late, even if that Philly/Pitts series was epic. I was in Houston working during the first round and third round. To say there was a tail off in interest would be an understatement.

  • Lexi


    If you look at the stats coming into this year Quick and Corey Crawford were almost equal. I suspect if they traded places this year, LA misses the playoffs and Chicago is Stanley Cup champ. I think most goalies are a bit of a crapshoot at best, unless they are Brodeur/Roy in their prime. It seems like the best plan is have a top 20 goalie who you play about $3Mill and your backup who is around the 30th best being paid around $2mill, with hopefully a couple of young up and comers in the minors that could come up in a pinch like Holtby.

  • Lexi

    Clearly, top-end goaltending is a key factor in success in the playoffs. Winning teams almost always have had great goaltending. But, the thing that really struck me last night when the teams were shaking hands was the difference in size. In many cases, the Kings towered overt the N.J. players. Playing four rounds is so gruelling that large, physical teams have a big advantage. (See Boston last year.) Whomever the Oil take in the first round, I hope they get bigger and more physical in as many areas as possible as they build the team.

      • DSF

        Exactly so. Look at how the Flames and Minny have consistently pushed us around. We don’t necessarily need a goon squad, but we need push-back that will make other teams think twice about trying to take to many liberties. We have some great talent. When I go to a game, I want to see them on the ice not on the IR. Consider all of the injuries the Oil have had over the past several years.

  • DSF

    One common denominator that Quick and Bernier have is goalie coach Bill Ranford. Just like Sutter taking over the team before Christmas, things just didn’t magically come together. Sutter pushed all the right buttons and got the most out of that team made up of a lot of great players that needed that directions and push. He should get more credit, but like Bill Ranford on this thread, he doesn’t get mentioned. Development takes effort and the right people. That’s what happened here too.

  • OB1 Team Yakopov - F.S.T.N.F

    Anyone that thinks the kings top 9 forwards are actually big need to have a quick look at NHL.com

    They’ve got 2 guysin the top 9 with well above average size…. And one of them has been called soft for the past 5 years.

    outside of that they called up a couple of scrubs that are unlikely to have anything more then a Ben eager type career (at best)….. They are Brad Winchesters of 2006.

  • oilersplumber

    Please no more give the farm to get a Goalie.

    Devan dubnyk was;
    16-11-4 2.47GA .920SV%

    he was the 10th best save % goalie from jan. on.

    the oilers played
    KHB from X mas on.
    1W-12L-4OTL 3.51GA .881 SV%

    that is a 12-14 point Diffrence and the only reason we were not at 86-88 points at the end of the seaosn.