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Golden Knights trade for Stanley Cup-winning goaltender

Updated March 2, 2023 - 7:27 pm

Jonathan Quick skated around the then-Staples Center ice June 13, 2014, with the Stanley Cup held high over his head.

It was passed to three more players before defenseman Alec Martinez got his turn to lift it. Nearly nine years later, the two will try to re-create that memory again.

The Golden Knights reunited the pair by acquiring Quick from the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday, one day before the NHL’s trade deadline. The Knights gave the Blue Jackets goaltender Michael Hutchinson and a seventh-round pick. Columbus will also retain half of Quick’s $5.8 million hit on his expiring contract.

The move was intended to give the Knights more security with injuries affecting their crease. Whether that happens depends on Quick’s play.

The 37-year-old has had a decorated career that includes two Stanley Cups. He’s struggled this season, but the Knights hope he still has something to offer.

“I think he’s going to come in and give us really good goaltending,” general manager Kelly McCrimmon said. “This isn’t a move designed to upstart any of the goaltenders that are here. This is a move that’s designed to mitigate risk and give us healthy goaltenders as we move forward here through the deadline.”

Quick has been one of the most accomplished netminders in the NHL since he entered the league in 2007.

Along with his Cups, he’s won the Jennings Trophy for fewest goals allowed twice. He’s finished in the top 10 of the Vezina Trophy voting six times.

His aggressive, athletic and unorthodox style let him play some of the best hockey the sport has seen. Quick was 16-4 during the Kings’ 2012 Stanley Cup-run with three shutouts. His .946 save percentage that postseason is the 12th-best in playoff history.

But Quick hasn’t been the same player lately.

He’s 11-13-4 this season with an .876 save percentage, third-worst among goalies with at least 10 appearances. That led the Kings to make a switch as they try to chase down the Knights in the Pacific Division standings. They traded him and two draft picks to the Blue Jackets on Wednesday for goaltender Joonas Korpisalo and defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov.

“He’s had a tougher year and needs a change,” McCrimmon said. “He’d be the first to admit the year hasn’t gone as well as it could. We’re all about what lies ahead, and the one thing I’ve seen with Jonathan Quick on different occasions is he’s responded to challenges many times in his career.”

The Knights could certainly use the depth Quick brings to their net. Goaltending injuries have become one of the themes of their season.

Robin Lehner is out for the season with a hip injury that required surgery. Laurent Brossoit wasn’t ready to begin training camp because of offseason hip surgery, and he’s now day to day with a lower-body injury. Rookie Logan Thompson, who took advantage of the opening in the crease to make the Pacific Division All-Star team, is week to week with a lower-body injury.

Brossoit and Thompson aren’t skating, but McCrimmon said Quick’s acquisition doesn’t necessarily mean the two are out long term. Thompson is still expected back by the end of the regular season. The Knights just didn’t want Adin Hill, who set a career high with his 23rd start Wednesday, to get overworked with 21 games in 42 days to close the season.

They also didn’t want to chance Hill suffering an injury after the deadline and not being able to find another solution.

“That just wasn’t a risk we were comfortable in taking,” McCrimmon said.

Hutchinson, who signed a one-year, $750,000 contract in the offseason, never appeared in a game for the team. The 33-year-old is 55-55-15 with a .905 save percentage his career.

The Knights can also take solace in the fact they’ve made life easy on their goaltenders. They give up the second-fewest high-danger scoring chances at five-on-five per 60 minutes, according to the website Natural Stat Trick. That has helped all three goalies they’ve used so far perform well.

The Knights want the same to hold true with Quick. He hasn’t played up to his own lofty standards this season. They’re counting on a new environment to give him a boost.

“I hope he just enjoys playing in front of our team because we value defending,” coach Bruce Cassidy said. “We take pride in it.”

Contact Ben Gotz at bgotz@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BenSGotz on Twitter.

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