Jonathan Quick off to hot start, bad preseason a distant memory
In the veteran’s two preseason performances, however, in which he’d allowed eight goals in five periods (to the tune of an .809 save percentage), he didn’t do much to ignite confidence in his ability to keep the puck out of the net. Following a somewhat disappointing end to his time with the Kings and his spare use by the Vegas Golden Knights last season, those concerns were legitimate.
But that was about to change in his early regular season starts for the Rangers, in a way that was surprising and encouraging.
Jonathan Quick isn’t sleepless in Seattle
Having played his entire NHL career in the Pacific Division, the 37-year-old had faced the teams New York was set to play on this trip multiple times during his stint with the Kings and the Golden Knights.
Nevertheless, the first of the Western road trip games against the Kraken was highly unusual, due to a lighting issue at Climate Pledge Arena that couldn’t be fixed. Hence, each team’s goaltender ended up playing half the game under dimly lit conditions, presumably making it more challenging to prevent goals from scoring.
By the end of the game, however, Quick had relented on only one goal on 19 shots, for a .947 save percentage — and the Blueshirts won the first game of the trip with a score of 4-1 versus a fast, aggressive Seattle team. Although the veteran net minder is known for having idolized Stanley Cup-winning Ranger Mike Richter in his childhood, Quick’s present day goalie coach is the much respected Benoit Allaire; and it wouldn’t be at all surprising, as noted post game by MSG’s Steve Valiquette, if Allaire has already impacted Quick’s current game.
Explained head coach Peter Laviolette after Quick’s first regular season win, “He (Quick) was always kind of penciled in for [the game against the Kraken]. I don’t think we did a very good job in front of Shesty the other night [at home against Nashville]…It was a chance to get him in there also and try to feel game situations because — he has been practicing really hard — but I think a goalie likes to be in a game and get some rhythm inside the game.”
That’s a credit to the experienced head coach, because, as Quick himself said, “Honestly, I’ve been getting plenty of reps at practice. I knew the deal coming into this season. I know who I’m playing with [Igor Shesterkin]. I just obviously want to give him the breaks he needs and try to perform as well as possible when I get the opportunity.”
Shutting out the Oilers
Quick’s second game start came against the Edmonton Oilers, who came into the game with a 1-4-1 record and have not been as sharp as usual this October, especially with league top forward Connor McDavid injured for the game against the Blueshirts.
Again, having played his entire NHL career till this year in the Western Conference, the veteran goaltender has great familiarity with the Oilers. And combining his renewed quality of play with both his knowledge of the opposing team and their lack of success to date, Quick stopped 29 of 29 shots for his first shutout of the season — bringing his overall save percentage for October 2023 to .982.
Quick earned the 59th shutout of his career with his strong showing against a struggling Edmonton. The 37-year-old moved into a tie for 20th place on the all-time shutouts list with Evgeni Nabokov.
The Rangers gave him three goals of support during a second-period burst. Being able to trust the backup goalie is always a plus for a team, and the veteran is earning his way there. This is notable for the Blueshirts, a team who has grown used to riding the net-minding prowess of Vezina winner Igor Shesterkin over the past several years, who has stolen many games for them over the course of that time.
A deeper dive into how Quick has played
Given the just over seven periods of data from Quick’s 2023 regular season performances to date, any stats available for his time in net represent a fairly small sample size.
With that caveat, according to NHL Edge, the league average GAA at this stage of the season is 2.95; while the veteran net minder’s is .41, which puts him in the 98th percentile for goalies to this point. Quick is also in the 98th percentile for overall save percentage, and 99th percentile for high danger chance save percentage.
Quick’s goal differential per 60 minutes is 2.88, while league average is -0.06 — again placing him in the 99th percentile. His 100% of minutes to date played at above a .900 save percentage place him in the 97th percentile in the league (not 100th percentile due to the small sample size). League average of goalie minutes played at above .900 this first month of the season is 47.7%.
Reviving a quality, Stanley Cup-winning career is tough to do at 37 years of age; but if Quick can maintain his torrid pace to date, the boost he can give the Blueshirts will certainly be a crowning achievement for him.