As the miserable 2018-19 Philadelphia Flyers season continues on, there are many issues for Chuck Fletcher to address over the coming months. The most pressing issue is finding a goaltender to hold down the fort until Carter Hart is truly ready to take the starting reins full-time.
There are plenty of bridge goalies available, but given the current tandem of Michal Neuvirth and Brian Elliott, bringing in another aging, average goaltender might not be the best move. I’ve already looked at the positives and negatives of bringing back Sergei Bobrovsky, but the other popular option among the fans is current LA Kings starting goaltender Jonathan Quick.
At first glance, Quick seems like an enticing option. A two-time Stanley Cup winner, a two-time Vezina nominee, and a two-time William Jennings Trophy winner, Quick would certainly bring a pedigree to the Flyers that they haven’t seen in a long time. Even with such a long resume, there are some concerns about the long-term future of Quick’s health.
The soon-to-be 33-year-old has seen his share of injuries over the past few seasons. He missed nearly all of the 2016-17 season with a torn meniscus. Quick made a comeback and had a solid 2017-18 season, starting 63 games with a 2.40 GAA and a .921 SV%. Then the injury bug struck once again this season, as he missed over a month from late October to late November with a strained groin. Now, Prior to those two injuries, Quick never missed significant time with injuries in his career, but it is not a good sign that he is getting hurt more frequently as he gets older.
Jonathan Quick is signed for another four years with a cap hit of $5.8 million, which isn’t that bad all things considered. Quick is currently the 11th highest paid goaltender in the league, but a total of 17 goalies are making at least $5 million, so it’s not like he is making some outrageous sum of money. The Flyers have more than enough cap space to fit Quick comfortably for at least a couple of years.
Today, his cap hit is reasonable, but again, it lasts for another four years. If he cannot stay healthy, the Flyers will have a very expensive problem on their hands if Quick in his late 30’s sees extended stretches on IR.
One of the bigger concerns would be the price tag LA would put on him. The Kings are dead last in the Pacific division with 35 points (the same as the Flyers as of the writing of this), and could ask a king’s ransom, pun very much intended, in return for their franchise goalie. While many are relieved Ron Hextall is out as GM, most still want to preserve the foundation of prospects he left behind. The Flyers do have an excess of prospects, and a draft pick in every round for the next three years, so it is certainly possible to acquire Quick without parting ways with prized prospects Morgan Frost or Joel Farabee.
Let’s look at the positives, because there are quite a few. The Kings are no longer the powerhouse they once were during Quick’s early years in LA, but he is still holding his own behind a struggling team. Even though Quick is having a down year, he can still play at a high level as an above-average goalie. Quick was top ten in goals against last season, and 11th in save percentage. Even though his numbers are lackluster this season, sitting at a 2.87 GAA and .904 SV%, those numbers would be the best among any goalie that suited up for the Flyers this year. Quick would also provide a capable starting goaltender now, and could also be a solid backup later once Hart gets acclimated to the NHL.
The simple takeaway is this, Jonathan Quick could potentially be a great acquisition now, and a dependable backup later. However, there is mild risk bringing in someone who is getting older and starting to show signs of breaking down. The thought of another expensive, less-than-stellar goaltender in Philadelphia is enough to send chills down all of our spines.
Jonathan Quick would be a very pricey gamble, both in money and trade, but as his helmet suggests, he could be the knight in shining armor the Flyers desperately need.
By: Dan Esche (@DanTheFlyeraFan)
photo credit: tsn.ca