"Team effort," simplified approach improves Quick's puckhandling - LA Kings Insider

Jonathan Quick is a Vezina Trophy finalist for the second time in his career, and upon a cursory glance, his numbers don’t stray too far from most of those previously established. According to War-on-Ice, his “high-danger” save percentage in five-on-five play was a career-high .871, while his “low-danger” save percentage was a career-low .960. The formula for finding those numbers, though, may have flaws, as the eye test, as well as conversations with the club’s coaching staff and with Goaltending Coach Bill Ranford, indicated that Quick had made strides in wiping the “bad goal” out of his system. The last play many remember of Quick was allowing a goal from the perimeter to Joe Pavelski in Game 5 last Friday, but it was not a goal representative of the body of work he had put forward throughout the season.

One of the areas in which Quick has improved in recent years is in his puckhandling. Viewed from the outside as a detriment of his all-around package – “I don’t think it’s ever been a huge concern,” Ranford said of how the team views it – Quick in recent years has improved in his ability to leave the crease quickly to stop and channel pucks from behind his own net to less dicey areas, and there have been fewer turnovers or awkward handoffs as a result. He’s also among the more adept goaltenders in the league in having a sense of pressure and game circumstances, and knowing the right time to keep a puck in play or cover it up for a whistle.

“Especially in our own building, at Staples, I think people made a bigger deal out of it than in years past, but it’s something that we always focused on,” Ranford said of Quick’s ability playing pucks. “The puckhandling, everybody thinks it’s a goalie, but it’s a group effort from not only the D going back for the puck, but also sometimes the first forward coming back. So it’s something we practice all the time, usually anywhere from two to three times a week, and we know it’s important. I think Jonathan’s just gotten quicker at it. He doesn’t do anything fancy, he’s not like Mike Smith or anybody that can make those real creative plays. He just has simplified his puckhandling, but most of all he’s just much quicker at it.”

That simplification – does it come from repetition in practice? Simple confidence and regularity of a NHL veteran?

“I think practice is a big part of it, but I also think his hockey sense is very good, and he has the ability due to his quickness to get out of the net and cut a lot of plays off that are sent to the back of the net,” Ranford said. “He’ll get to that puck and break up that back of net play, which helps us as a group a lot, and just confidence goes a long way. When you’re confident in what you’re doing and you know you’re doing it, it gets better.”

Of course, save percentage is a team statistic, similar to what Ranford alluded to earlier. The Kings’ overall team save percentage this year was .915, which tied for ninth in the league and was influenced by a heavier rotation of defensive personnel than in the past. Overall, one of the aspects of Quick being named as a Vezina finalist was that he finished second in the league in wins.

“Just to hit the 40-win plateau, it’s not easy to do. It doesn’t happen very often, and that was impressive in itself,” Ranford said. “I think with all the changes over the year that we had on our back end, he was still a force back there to keep us united as a group.”

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Adrian Kempe

#9 | 6′ 2″ | 195 lb | Age: 21

Born: September 13, 1996
Birthplace: Kramfors, SWE
Position: LW
Handedness: Left


Kempe was selected by the Kings in the first round (29th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft.

Alex Iafallo

#19 | 6′ | 185 lb | Age: 23

Born: December 21, 1993
Birthplace: Eden, NY, USA
Position: C
Handedness: Left


Iafallo was signed by the Kings as an unrestricted free agent on April 18, 2017.

Anze Kopitar

#11 | 6′ 3″ | 224 lb | Age: 29

Born: August 24, 1987
Birthplace: Jesenice, SVN
Position: C
Handedness: Left


As the 11th overall pick in the 2005 NHL Entry Draft, Kopitar became the first Slovenian to play in the NHL. Kopitar has spent his entire NHL career with the Kings, and following the 2015–16 season, was named the Kings’ captain. Noted for both his offensive and defensive play, Kopitar was awarded the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the best defensive forward in the NHL in 2016.

Drew Doughty

#8 | 6′ 1″ | 195 lb | Age: 26

Born: December 8, 1989
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: D
Handedness: Right


Bio: Doughty is a Canadian defenceman who was selected second overall by the Kings in the 2008 Draft. Doughty made his NHL debut in 2008 as an 18-year-old and was named to the All-Rookie Team. He is a two-time Stanley Cup champion with the Kings, a two-time Olympic gold medallist with the Canadian national team, and a Norris Trophy finalist.

Jeff Carter

#77 | 6′ 4″ | 215 lb | Age: 31

Born: January 1, 1985
Birthplace: London, ON, CAN
Position: C
Handedness: Right


Carter began his hockey career playing in the Ontario Hockey League in Canada before joining the AHL and playing for the Philadelphia Flyers. He was then traded to the Colombus Blue jackets before joining the LA Kings in 2012, where he has since won two Stanley Cups with the Kings.

Jonathan Quick

#32 | 6′ 1″ | 218 lb | Age: 30

Born: January 21, 1986
Birthplace: Milford, CT, USA
Position: G
Handedness: Left


Bio: Quick is the current goaltender for the LA Kings and was selected by Los Angeles at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft. Previously, Quick was a silver medalist with USA at the 2010 Winter Olympics. He’s won two Stanley Cup championships with the Kings, along with being the most recent goaltender to be awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable Player (MVP) of the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs.