With a little over two weeks to go in the shortened NHL season, the Los Angeles Kings have a huge decision to make. Last season’s hero, Jonathon Quick, is struggling more than usual this year after a rushed return from offseason back surgery. Here is a quick look at his decline from last season till now (see what I did there).
Quick also went on to have one of the most incredible postseasons in recent memory, single-handedly carrying the Kings to their first Stanley Cup title. This earned the 27 year-old a big new contract through 2020.
Photo Credit: David Sheehan
The pressure on Quick to improve this season is only increasing, as backup goaltender Jonathon Bernier is finally starting to reach the star potential that the Kings envisioned when they brought him up to the team at just 21-years old. The young goalie, now 24, is widely considered as one of the most valuable trading pieces in the NHL. Rather than dealing Bernier at the trade deadline, the Kings made the bold decision to hold on to him even though he will become a restricted free agent next season. Here is a look at Bernier’s numbers this season.
Head Coach Darryl Sutter now has a huge predicament on his hands. Does he start last year’s hero, or turn to the young kid he simply cannot keep off of the ice?
Although Bernier is starting to see more ice time, he needs to be out there more. Then heading into the playoffs, Sutter can choose which goalie is hotter at the time, and try to ride that hot streak to another Stanley Cup title. Either way, expect Bernier to become one of the league’s best goalies in the next few seasons.