Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) -
Los Angeles Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick has seemingly had a disappointing first eight starts, even by mediocre netminder standards and especially by the lofty standards he set last season.
But a closer look shows that Quick's stats -- 3-2-2, 2.62 GAA, .897 save percentage -- don't tell the whole story about his performance this season.
I'm pinpointing two starts -- the season opener and Feb. 2 at Anaheim -- that are dragging Quick's numbers down. He gave up a combined seven goals in 65 minutes in those two starts.
Quick didn't play during the lockout after having minor back surgery, so the season opener against the Chicago Blackhawks on Jan. 19, when he gave up five goals, was his first live game action in more than seven months. It's likely he was a little rusty.
In his other six starts, Quick boasts a 1.95 GAA and .925 save percentage. His numbers last season: 1.95 GAA and .929 save percentage.
Plus, this eight-game stretch is an extremely small sample size to judge his future fantasy value. You can take several eight-game snapshots from last season, when Quick's numbers weren't equivalent to his final totals. Like when he allowed 23 goals in 486 minutes (2.84 GAA) from Oct. 27 to Nov. 12. Or 19 in 442 (2.58 GAA) from Dec. 8 to Dec. 26. But neither of those stretches took away from the whole.
Los Angeles has yielded 207 shots on goal in eight games, third fewest in the NHL. That's fewer per game than it allowed last season, when it gave up the fifth-fewest shots. There's value in your goaltender's defense keeping the opposition from getting too many clean shots at the net. Fewer shots equals fewer goals.
The other area the defense can help is on the penalty kill. Last season, the Kings ranked fourth in the NHL with a penalty kill percentage of 87 and they were also fourth in 2010-11 with an 85.6 percent success rate. But injuries to top penalty kill skaters Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell this season have forced players like Drew Doughty, Rob Scuderi and Davis Drewiske into larger roles on the penalty kill. That might explain why the Kings have given up seven power play goals on 37 opportunities (.811).
Greene is out for the season with a back injury, but Mitchell is nearing a return from knee surgery. That should allow to Kings to improve that PK number.
The Kings don't score, but they didn't in 2010-11 or 2011-12 either and Quick still won 35 games in both seasons, so that shouldn't be much of a concern to fantasy owners.
The time is now to buy Quick, while his fantasy owners are still feeling disappointed and searching for answers as to why Quick is struggling. The truth is that he really isn't, he's still the same dominant presence in the crease who shut down four different opponents over 20 games during the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs.