Prospect Ramblings: Injuries hurt, help young prospects (Oct. 15)

Mark Allan

2016-10-15

Former L.A. draft pick Jeff Zatkoff is the Kings' No. 1 goaltending option after an injury to workorse Jonathan Quick.

 

News about Jonathan Quick’s injury keeps worsening, which could potentially mean one of the Los Angeles Kings’ former prospects returns to the West Coast.

After Quick went down without getting through even one period of the season-opener, the Kings hoped he might be out for a period measured in weeks.

He’s now listed as week to week, and surgery is a real possibility. Increasingly, it seems L.A. will be without their outstanding workhorse netminder for a period measured in months.

Management and the coaching staff are talking cautiously and evasively yet bravely.

Although Quick was out for almost two months with a serious groin strain in the 2013-14 season, GM Dean Lombardi said this latest setback is not necessarily the groin, although it’s in the same area.

In any case, it seems to be serious and team officials are stressing that Quick, 30, in his prime and signed through 2023, will not be rushed back.

This is problematic because he led all NHL goaltenders in total minutes last season as he became a Vezina Trophy finalist.

The Kings responded to his absence by recalling Peter Budaj from the AHL to join former L.A. prospect Jeff Zatkoff. The 29-year-old Zatkoff played in just 35 games for Pittsburgh during the past three seasons.

Head coach Darryl Sutter spoke bravely about how the team is in good hands, but we’ll see how long his tone lasts if the Kings start to slide in the standings.

L.A. will likely gauge whether they were originally right to draft Zatkoff 74th overall in 2006.

If he’s not up to snuff as a No. 1 netminder for a team that plans to contend for the Stanley Cup, should the Kings not call Garth Snow?

The New York Islanders’ GM might even dial up Lombardi if he thinks he can ease the congestion in Long Island’s three's-company crease.

L.A. drafted J-F Berube 95th overall in 2009 and began to develop him before inexplicably waiving him. The Islanders, who pounced to