Patrick Kane was not the only 2010s icon to be traded from their longtime club. Unlike Kane’s deal, this one came out of nowhere.
The Kings stunned the hockey world late on Tuesday night, trading goaltender Jonathan Quick and two picks to the Blue Jackets for defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.
It marked the end of the Quick era in Los Angeles, where he had spent the entirety of his 16-year career. GM Rob Blake shipped out the two-time Stanley Cup champion and 2012 Conn Smythe winner, who was an integral part of the Kings’ dynasty nearly a decade ago.
To make matters worse, he sent Quick to Columbus, the worst team in the league.
Quick, along with other Kings players, were understandably upset by the news. Daily Faceoff’s Frank Seravalli reported that saying Quick was unhappy with the news would be an “understatement.” Captain Anze Kopitar, fresh off a four-goal performance in a massive OT win over the Jets, looked dejected in his post-game presser.
The Kings sent Quick to the Columbus Blue Jackets for goalie Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov. The Kings also gave up a conditional first-round draft pick in 2023 and a third-round pick in 2024 to the Blue Jackets in the trade.
The trade comes just days after the 37-year-old netminder surpassed Tom Barrasso as the third-winningest American-born goaltender with 370 wins. Five more wins, and he will pass hall-of-famer John Vanbiesbrouck.
To say this trade was a shock would be an understatement. Gavrikov had been involved in trade talks leading up to the deadline, and Korpisalo had been a trade candidate last offseason, so Columbus’ side of the trade isn’t too surprising. But Los Angeles trading away the goalie who won two Stanley Cups and a Conn Smythe Trophy on his way to becoming a franchise icon? That came out of nowhere.
Quick has been with the Kings since they drafted him back in 2007. He was one of the pillars of the early 2010s teams that won two Stanley Cups, along with Anze Kopitar, Drew Doughty, and Dustin Brown. He is undoubtedly a Kings legend, but now he will likely retire wearing a different jersey. Needless to say, Quick’s departure prompted many heartfelt messages from appreciative Kings fans.
Why did the Kings make the trade?
Their goaltending has been an issue. Cal Petersen, who was projected to be the No. 1 goalie, was sent to the American Hockey League. Pheonix Copley emerged as their top goalie. Quick was pulled from his last start. Korpisalo, a pending unrestricted free agent, has better numbers (3.17, .911) and matched Quick with 11 wins. He is 3-5 with a 1.90 goals-against average, .941 save percentage and two shutouts in the playoffs. He made 85 saves during a five-overtime loss to the Lightning in 2020. Los Angeles also wanted to boost its defense. The move saves $1.5 million in cap space, allowing the Kings to possibly make another move before Friday’s deadline.
What does the trade do for the Blue Jackets?
General manager Jarmo Kekalainin told reporters that he has been in touch with Quick and his camp and will try to do the right thing for the goalie. Blue Jackets goalies Elvis Merzlikins and Daniil Tarasov are signed long-term so they’ll be the pair going forward next season. Quick is a pending UFA and will be a Hall of Famer once he decides to retire.
The Russian had a spike in offence to 33 points last season, but that is not the primary strength of his game, nor what he was acquired to add. Gavrikov led Columbus in shorthanded ice time per game, isn’t afraid to block shots and tends to do well getting in the right lanes. He’s the classic type of defenceman teams crave for their bottom pair (at least) heading toward and into the playoffs.
Gavrikov carries a $2.8-million cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent after the season.
Quick’s trade comes after the Chicago Blackhawks went through a similar breakup with an all-time great, moving Patrick Kane to the New York Rangers. Kane and Quick were teammates on the United States Olympic team which won the silver medal in 2010. The game — in which Sidney Crosby scored the golden goal for Canada — was 13 years ago Tuesday.
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