The Los Angeles Kings could be without starting goaltender Jonathan Quick for longer than initially announced by the team.
General manager Dean Lombardi told reporters Wednesday that Quick’s timetable could place the All-Star goaltender’s return around mid-February.
Quick went down with a groin injury in Los Angeles’ season opener, and then had a non-surgical procedure in mid-October. It was then reported that the timetable for Quick’s recovery was around three months according to Lombardi, though it was noted that the rehabilitation process could be unpredictable. This would have put Quick on pace for a mid-January return.
“Well, I mean the thing was it’s no revelation that as soon as he went down, this isn’t like a thing you just look at yesterday or today, this has been going on as soon as we got word that he was going to be out until (mid-February),” Lombardi said.
Peter Budaj, who started the season with the Kings AHL affiliate in Ontario, has played well in getting most of the work for the team over Jeff Zatkoff. But since a five-game winning streak from Nov. 17 through Nov. 26 for Budaj, he has allowed 14 goals on 101 shots on goal for a .861 save percentage.
Lombardi noted that the trade market is scarce with teams looking to hold on to goaltending depth. Also, the coming expansion draft has played a role in how Lombardi has needed to approach his goaltending situation.
“I think what happens too is even the teams that have maybe a 1 and a 1a, they’re looking at it, ‘well, what happens if I lose my guy?’ You’re almost going down to the third man on the depth chart when you’re talking to a lot of these teams and then you also have the issue too, that if you highlight a certain guy, then you’ve got the realization, number one: you’ve got a number one goalie coming back, (and) two: with expansion coming, if he is a top guy you’re going to lose him, so how much are you going to give up for a two-month asset?” Lombardi said.
The Kings are in the middle of a nine-game road trip, that extends past the NHL’s holiday break, until Jan. 29. In the first game of the trip, a 6-3 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Wednesday, Budaj got pulled after allowing four goals on 22 shots on goal. Budaj currently has a 2.27 goal-against average, but a .907 save percentage.
Said coach Darryl Sutter after the game, “We’ve had a lot of goals scored on us lately with very few shots against.”
Los Angeles is 14-12-2 and tied with the Nashville Predators with 30 points for the final Wild Card spot in the Western Conference.
– – – – – – –
MORE FROM YAHOO SPORTS