The Los Angeles Kings just received a much needed boost when Jonathan Quick returned from a 24-game absence, Saturday, against Vancouver. Since then, the Kings are 2-0-1 after losing their previous five games in a row.
The Kings’ goaltending was actually among the league’s best when their perennial Vezina trophy candidate was on the shelf. It started with backup Ben Scrivens, who was acquired in the offseason, and carried over to Martin Jones, who was called up from the Kings’ AHL affiliate originally to back up Scrivens.
Scrivens is 7-5-4 with a .931 save percentage and 1.97 goals allowed average on the year. Jones, on the other hand, is 8-3-0 with a .950 SV% and a 1.41 GAA. However, he is only 1-3 in his last four games.
With Quick coming back, head coach Daryl Sutter decided to keep Scrivens on the roster and send Jones back to Manchester. Even though, Jones was unbelievable for a brief period of time, this was the right decision. He is still young, and would benefit more from playing every game in Manchester than he would from playing once a week, at the most, for the Kings.
Just one week ago, the Kings dilemma was who was going to play on any given night. Now, it is which one of the goaltenders, if any, will be traded?
While Scrivens and Jones were tearing it up, people were thinking what if the Kings traded Quick? As radical as it sounds, there are some decent reasons why this could work. The big one is obviously the package that would be sent to the Kings for Quick would be ridiculous. That being said, it would be a horrible decision to trade him. When playoff time comes around, there is nobody in the game who is outright better than Quick in the goal. That alone should be a reason to keep him. Over the last three seasons, he has been arguably the best in the game.
So that leaves Scrivens and Jones. Scrivens was acquired in the offseason, from Toronto, along with Matt Frattin for backup goaltender Jonathan Bernier. In his just over half of a season with the Kings, he has proven to be one of the league’s best backups and that he can be a starter for an extended period of time. His contract is also expiring at the end of the season. There should be plenty of teams teams who will want him by the March 5 trading deadline, and a team desperate for a goalie may be willing to give above his value.
Jones would also be a pretty valued trade piece. He is only 24-years old (Scrivens is 27.) He had arguably the best start to a career ever, going 7-0-0 with three shutouts in his first seven games. His ceiling appears to be higher than Scrivens.
However, the worst thing the Kings can do is to get so caught up in fixing their offense problem now that they leave themselves without a reliable backup heading into next season. That being said, if some team comes and offers a pretty high pick and a legitimate, reliable scorer for Scrivens or Jones, the Kings should take it.
If that does not happen, the Kings have no kind of pressing need to trade one of these guys. Scrivens can man the backup spot for the rest of this year and be around in case of emergency in the playoffs. That would allow Jones to spend the rest of the year in the AHL and mature that much more.
In the offseason, it would not make sense for the Kings to resign Scrivens. By that time, Jones should be more than ready to be the full-time backup goalie for next season.
As enticing as it sounds to trade one of the goalies, especially with Scrivens contract expiring after the season, for help on offense, it is not a smart idea to do so unless the perfect offer comes along.
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