Column: ‘He’s been awesome.’ How Jonathan Quick is helping Vegas hit the Stanley Cup jackpot

Vegas Golden Knights' Jonathan Quick plays against the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday, March 14, 2023.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick plays against the Philadelphia Flyers on March 14.
(Matt Slocum / Associated Press)
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The Vegas Golden Knights weren’t expecting they’d get in-his-prime Jonathan Quick when they acquired the 37-year-old goaltender from Columbus, a day after the Kings had traded the backbone of their 2012 and 2014 Stanley Cup championship teams to the Blue Jackets.

Quick’s numbers with the Kings weren’t pretty: 11-13-4 with a 3.50 goals-against average and .876 save percentage in 31 games. But the Golden Knights, perilously thin in net because of injuries, saw value in his experience, his pedigree, and the fact he was a warm body who could shore up the lone vulnerable spot on a potential championship roster.

They got what they needed — and more. Although Quick hasn’t played in the playoffs, he helped Vegas finish first in the Pacific Division and put it in position to launch its run to the Stanley Cup Final, which it leads two games to one heading into Game 4 on Saturday at FLA Live Arena.


Carter Verhaeghe’s goal in overtime lifted the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 overtime victory over the Vegas Golden Knights for their first Stanley Cup Final win.

June 8, 2023

“He’s been awesome. He’s an unbelievable teammate. He’s one of those ultimate competitors. He’s been great for our goalies, I think,” Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb, who was Quick’s teammate for three seasons with the Kings, said Friday.

“He’s a guy who’s won and been there. He says the stuff at the right times. It all makes sense. He’s been unbelievable for our team and for our room. When he’s gone in, he’s played well. That was a huge pickup.”

Quick has accepted being the backup to Adin Hill, playing his new role with his old fire. Hill welcomed Quick’s support, calling him “a good guy to relate to and talk to. He’s been a great addition to our team.” Hill also appears to have absorbed some of Quick’s feistiness, as evidenced when Hill slashed a crease-crashing Matthew Tkachuk and put out the not-welcome mat by thrusting his blocker at the heads of Tkachuk and Nick Cousins earlier in the Final. Vintage Quick moves, indeed.

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill blocks a shot by Florida Panthers center Nick Cousins.
Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Adin Hill blocks a shot by Florida Panthers center Nick Cousins during the second period of Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final on June 3.
(John Locher / Associated Press)

Quick is glad to be a resource for Hill but isn’t trying to change Hill’s game. “He’s playing some pretty good hockey in his own right so you try to help him out when the opportunity arises but you don’t want to kind of overstep and say too much,” Quick said before the Final began. “He’s playing the way he is because of the work he put in throughout his career.”

Hill, who was traded by San Jose to Las Vegas last summer for a fourth-round draft pick, got the starting job after Laurent Brossoit suffered a lower-body injury during the Golden Knights’ second-round series against Edmonton. He has kept it because of his sustained excellence, compiling a 2.12 goals-against average and postseason-best .934 save percentage in 14 games. Even after being beaten Thursday by the wicked wrister from Carter Verhaeghe 4 minutes and 27 seconds into overtime that gave Florida a 3-2 victory, Hill had stopped 82 of 89 shots in the Final.


“He wants to stay on top of his game in case he does get an opportunity to get in the net. That part’s been terrific, just his work ethic, leading by example.”

— Bruce Cassidy, Golden Knights coach, on Jonathan Quick

Although Quick isn’t making highlight-reel appearances, he’s still making a difference for the Golden Knights.

“To me, he’s been outstanding every time I’ve talked to him. In practice, if he’s not the hardest working guy, he’s close to it,” Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said during interviews at the team’s beachside hotel.

“He wants to stay on top of his game in case he does get an opportunity to get in the net. That part’s been terrific, just his work ethic, leading by example.”

Vegas Golden Knights goaltender Jonathan Quick makes a save against the Dallas Stars on April 8.
(LM Otero / Associated Press)

That’s not all. “I hear him in the locker room, doing his part, relaying experiences, supporting the team,” Cassidy said. “So that’s the challenge in front of a backup: you’ve got to be a bit of a cheerleader in that regard and support, sort of a sounding board for the guy who’s playing every night. He’s done all those things.


“I can’t say enough good things about him. I’ll go back to the season when he helped us win games to get us in the position we’re in, which is win the Pacific Division. He helped us a lot. So, nothing but good from Jonathan, and I don’t see that changing.”

The Kings felt they couldn’t win with Quick in goal and acquired Joonas Korpisalo from Columbus. They were dismissed in the first round, and Korpisalo is an unrestricted free agent whose signing price will be difficult for the Kings to squeeze under the salary-cap limit. It was the right decision, but for Quick — also about to become an unrestricted free agent — it must feel like karma that after a shockingly abrupt separation from the only organization he’d ever known, he’s now two wins from winning the Cup again.

Determined to win and the “ultimate team player,” Jonathan Quick played a central role in transforming the Kings into Stanley Cup winners.

March 5, 2023

He keeps in touch with his old teammates, he said, but he politely declined to discuss the trade when asked about it before the Final. He wanted to keep the focus on his new team, which is reasonable.

“Being back and playing hockey in June, it’s exciting,” he said. “Everybody in the league, they want to be playing hockey this time of year. We’re fortunate enough, us and Florida, so you just try and make the most of it.

“At this point of the year, whatever your role is, you do it and you do it to the best of your ability to help your teammates win.”

He has done that twice before. Now, he’s doing it again, in a less visible but still vital way.