How Jonathan Quick Can Elevate His Game and Make Los Angeles Kings Even Better

Even after a meteoric rise to the top of the NHL's goaltending ranks, Los Angeles Kings star Jonathan Quick still has plenty of ways to make himself and his team better.

The 27-year-old netminder, who won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the most valuable player in the Kings' Stanley Cup title run in 2012, is about to begin a massive 10-year, $58 million contract.

With the new deal comes higher expectations for a player that Los Angeles is relying on to backstop a Western Conference contender for the next decade.

Let's examine how Quick can improve his game and, as a result, make the Kings an even tougher team to beat on the road to the Stanley Cup.


Better Performances vs. the Chicago Blackhawks

Let's face it, if the Kings are expecting to get back to the Stanley Cup Final over the next three to five years, they will likely need to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks in the playoffs multiple times.

The defending champion Blackhawks have a strong core of young stars, a reliable goaltender and a strong enough prospect pool to provide much-needed depth. Therefore, expect Chicago to be a top contender for many more years out West.

Entering the Kings and Blackhawks' matchup in the Western Conference Final last year, Quick had allowed two or fewer goals in 11 of his team's 13 games over the first two rounds. He looked unbeatable at times and gave the Kings a distinct advantage in net versus Chicago prior to Game 1.

But the UMass star was unable to maintain his world-class form against the Blackhawks, allowing 2.8 goals per game, with a horrible .897 save percentage, in a five-game series loss. In the first two rounds, Quick posted a combined .948 save percentage.

Quick's subpar Western Conference Final against the Blackhawks was no surprise based on his previous regular-season performances against the Original Six club.


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