(Interjection: I like to think of the above picture as Quick saying, “Sweet mother of pearl, 10 years!“)
Jonathan Quick is no longer the designated cornerstone with the expiring contract in Los Angeles as he has joined the likes of Anze Kopitar, Mike Richards, Jeff Carter, Justin Williams, and Drew Doughty as players who will be locked up in Hollywood for some time yet. Ironically enough captain Dustin Brown is now the big name with the shortest contract but you can bet after this year’s run that the Kings will have that squared away soon.
Jonathan Quick 58 million / 10 years with Kings.
— Renaud P Lavoie (@RenLavoieRDS) June 28, 2012
This contract has the Kings goaltending situation in stable hands for many years to come so long as Quick can stay healthy. The $5.8 million cap hit is fairly reasonable for a goaltender of his caliber and his play over the last few seasons have made the $4 million raise entirely justifiable.
An interesting cog in this contract is where the future of Jonathan Bernier fits in, considering he was once destined to supplant Quick in the crease. After a frustrating start to his pro career, expect Bernier to be moved in the near future and Martin Jones to be slid into the backup role in Los Angeles sooner rather than later.
The underlying issue to all of this is the history of goaltenders with albatross contracts. The 10 year deal makes Quick’s contract the third longest contract for a goaltender in the league today, behind only Rick DiPietro and Roberto Luongo, while Quick inches in front of Ilya Bryzgalov‘s humongous big nine year deal in Philly.
While Quick’s deal isn’t of the Coleridge-ian proportions DiPietro can claim, it’s certainly not to be overlooked.
As of June 2012 there is no clear positive to giving a goaltender a contract this long. DiPietro’s deal was ill-advised and has blown up about as spectacularly as you could imagine. The Canucks are actively shopping Luongo to hand the reins to the younger, cheaper Cory Schneider. Bryzgalov has been a whipping boy in Philadelphia, though that is equal parts his in-goal work with the Flyers and HBO magic.
Where will Quick fit in all of this?
If you were to bank on anyone being the exception to the albatross deal rule, it would have to be Jonathan Quick. Had Henrik Lundqvist not propelled the New York Rangers to the top seed in the Eastern Conference, Quick could have the Vezina and Conn Smythe to his credit as his numbers in net were identical to King Henrik’s, Quick’s team simply didn’t get the results in front of him until the playoffs.
Really, that’s where this Quick arrangement differs from the previous three. As far as a stable situation to thrive long term goes, you can’t do much better than Los Angeles as the Kings are defending champions come September and have the talent to take the heat off of Quick if need be, something his long term predecessors cannot lay claim to.
On Long Island, DiPietro was given his deal to be the cornerstone for any success on a bad team, Luongo was the backbone of the Canucks at the time of his deal before they added a bevy of pieces to propel them to a Cup final appearance, and Bryzgalov was brought in to a situation in Philly where the team had been re-structured over the summer. These were situations in both positive and negative cases of flux and weren’t nearly as stable as what the Kings currently have.
The 10 year deal will take Quick to his 36th birthday and barring catastrophic injury, the Kings can expect an elite goaltender for at least half of this contract. If his play diminishes with age, the performances of veteran goaltenders in recent years, particuarly in the playoffs (Brodeur, Roloson, Thomas, among others), certainly wouldn’t deter the Kings from making this commitment. A decade of consistently above average goaltending is hard to get in this league.
There may be some work to do to overcome the albatross contract stigma brought upon goalies by Mr. DiPietro, but as of the year 2012, there’s nobody more qualified to do that than Jonathan Quick.
What do you think of the deal?