Goaltending has been a source of stress in the state of California, at least for two of its three teams, to start off this season. Also, one of the top goaltending prospects in quite some time makes his NCAA debut against some heavy firepower.
Are Quick’s Days Numbered in Los Angeles?
As we touched on in this morning’s NHL Rumors post, Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has struggled mightily to start the 2019-20 season. In his two starts, he has a 7.17 goals-against average (GAA) and a .750 save percentage (save %).
This led to a discussion between Josh Cooper and Lisa Dillman of The Athletic on Quick’s future in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, the Kings will be hard-pressed to find a taker on a 33-year-old goaltender with a history of injuries and declining numbers who has a $5.8 million salary-cap hit for the next two seasons.
NBC Sports analyst Keith Jones weighed in on the matter:
If there’s another team out there that believes they have a goalie coach that might be able to get him back to where he’s performed at previously, maybe they see something that a trained eye can pick up that they think they can adjust and get him back.
That’s still not out of the realm of possibility. In the NHL today, there are so many specialty coaches that there may be a guy out there that’s confident enough that he can get Jonathan Quick back to being the elite goaltender he was in the past.
from ‘Is it too early to worry about Jonathan Quick’s slow start? What are the Kings’ options?,’ The Athletic, 10/11/2019
Backup Jack Campbell has been playing well this season and Cal Petersen is off to a great start with the Ontario Reign in the American Hockey League. This storyline will be worth keeping tabs on as the season progresses.
Miller Keeps on Ticking
It seems like a lifetime ago when Ryan Miller led the Buffalo Sabres to the Eastern Conference Finals during his first postseason run back in 2005. The 39-year-old netminder has not been a starter for quite some time, but he is still one of the better backups in the NHL.
These days, the 2010 Vezina Trophy winner is backing up and providing veteran leadership for John Gibson and the Anaheim Ducks. He made his first start of the season against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. He made 26 saves in a 2-1 victory to help the Ducks to a 4-1-0 start.
“He comes in every day and works his tail off,” said Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins. “It’s 100 percent every day. He’s a guy who’s always out there extra. He’s taking extra pucks. He’s been in the league for a very long time. I don’t think there’s anything you can throw at him that he can’t handle.”
With the start last night, Miller has now played in 17 NHL seasons, tying him with Craig Anderson of the Ottawa Senators for the most among active goaltenders. He picked up his 379th regular-season win which has him tied with Mike Vernon for the 15th most in league history. No U.S.-born netminder has ever won more games than Miller has.
Knight Gets the Job Done in Boston
Spencer Knight is one of the top American goaltending prospects to come up through the ranks since the great Tom Barrasso. He has been so impressive that the Florida Panthers used the 13th overall pick of the 2019 NHL Entry to add Knight to their organization.
Knight was one of three players selected within the first 15 picks of last June’s draft to make their NCAA debut in Friday night’s game between Boston College and the University of Wisconsin. Knight took to the crease for the Eagles and had to face off against Alex Turcotte (selected fifth overall by the Kings) and Cole Caufield (selected 15th overall by the Montreal Canadiens). All three youngsters were teammates last season with the United States National Team Development Program.
Caufield scored twice and Turcotte picked up an assist, but it was Knight and the sixth-ranked Eagles who took home the 5-3 victory. The young goaltender made 20 saves to pick up his first collegiate win.