Jonathan Quick has started 30 of the Kings’ 33 games, putting him on pace to start 75 games this season. Considering that even the top goalies in the game rarely reach the 70-game plateau, that pace might not be sustainable. On the other hand, the Kings have two lengthy breaks — this month, and in February for the Olympics — and Evgeni Nabokov did start 77 games two seasons ago, so it’s not impossible.
Then there’s Erik Ersberg, who basically plays once a month and has a .837 save percentage in four games (three starts).
Then there’s Jonathan Bernier, whose .943 save percentage is second-best in the AHL. Bernier, however, is doing exactly what the Kings want him to do: play a lot, win, gain confidence and (likely) go on a playoff run.
What would you do? Keep going with Quick? Give Ersberg more regular starts, so he might be able to get in a rhythm? Call up Bernier? Then there’s the ever-present talk of trading, but I’d consider it highly unlikely that the Kings would give up a first-round pick, or a solid prospect, for a backup goalie to play 10 games or so.
The subject of goaltending came up at practice this week, in the context of Ersberg’s average (at best) game in San Jose, and Murray was reminded that Bernier was doing quite well for himself in Manchester…
MURRAY: “I’m aware of that, yeah. We get updates on Bernier and Zatkoff. I understand that he’s playing great down there, also. But that really has nothing to do with my decisions or anything. What I have available to me is Quick and Ersberg. We have confidence in them. I know I probably don’t show it as much with Ersberg, because I don’t play him as much, but those are the two goalies we have, and the other two guys are learning to win and playing awfully well, playing big minutes down there. That ends up being a decision that is an organizational decision. My concern, as a head coach, is to coach the players that are here. That’s my job.”
Murray was also asked about this ability to “make recommendations” to Dean Lombardi about what he would like to see happen with certain players…
MURRAY: “I don’t make recommendations, but we do have conversations, absolutely. That’s part of the development process, throughout the organization. We’re sharing information and thoughts. It’s just not the right time for anything else right now. We’ve got a good thing going. We’ve got nice chemistry. We’ve got great feel in the locker room, and I think it’s best to stay that way.”