Los Angeles Kings general manager told reporters that goalie Jonathan Quick likely won’t resume play until March at the earliest. Quick sustained a groin injury in the Kings first game of the season against the San Jose Sharks back on October 12th.
Quick played an NHL-high 68 games last season. He was a Vezina Trophy finalist, posting a 2.22 GAA and a .918 save percentage. Last season the Kings finished second in the Pacific Division with a record of 48-28-6 and 102 points.
Filling the Void
It’s very clear that Peter Budaj has taken over as the number one goalie in Los Angeles. He has started 38 games for the Kings, posting a 20-14-3 record. Budaj has also put impressive stats this season, a 2.14 GAA and a .916 save percentage. Budaj is also fourth in the NHL in shutouts with four, two back of Washington Capitals’ Braden Holtby for the lead. He lead the AHL in wins last year and is on track for the best NHL season of his career.
The Los Angeles Kings season could’ve quickly gone south after Quick went down. But instead, Budaj took the opportunity and ran with it.
Budaj has been a bright spot for a struggling Kings team. Los Angeles has the second worst record in the Pacific Division with 48 points. Without Budaj the Kings would likely be in a much more difficult position.
The Backup to the Backup
Jeff Zatkoff has also been a relatively capable backup in Quick’s absence, at times. Zatkoff is posting a 2.94 GAA and .881 save percentage. Not the best numbers, but they’ll do for a third choice goalie. He has only started 12 games since Budaj is shouldering most of the workload.
While the Kings are at the bottom of the Pacific Division, they are not far out of the playoff picture. They are 12 points back of the Edmonton Oilers for third in the division, but just 3 back of the Calgary Flames for the final Wild Card spot in the West.