Jon Quick’s journey to the Los Angeles Kings has happened in a fashion befitting his last name.
After all, it’s not all that common to see a player go from riding buses in the ECHL to being named the NHL’s first star of the week in only a year.
Quick achieved the second half of that equation on Monday, when the NHL made him its top star for recording three straight road victories. While the 23-year-old took the honour in stride, he admitted that his recent run has brought a measure of satisfaction.
“I’m excited about what’s happened so far, especially with last year being the journey that it was,” said Quick. “I put in a lot of hard work.
“I’m just trying to take every day for what it’s worth. I’m trying to make a name here.”
He’s already got the name part down. No other “Quick” has ever played an NHL game.
His journey has been somewhat unique as well.
Quick spent the majority of last season with the Reading Royals of the ECHL, buried a few spots down the organization’s depth chart in goal. He also got some time in with Manchester of the American Hockey League and appeared in three games for the Kings – one of a record seven goalies to see action with the team.
After going back to Manchester for the first couple of months this season, he made the most of a December callup to the Kings with a pair of shutouts just four days apart. He hasn’t looked back since.
“Some goalies get into an organization where they have Luongo in front of them or Brodeur in front of them – you have to be in the right spot at the right time,” said Quick. “There are a lot of factors you don’t even control.
“Luckily, things have worked out so far. But there’s no future guaranteed with anything so you can’t really get too ahead of yourself.”
It’s an attitude that has served him well so far.
Quick grew up in Millford, Conn., and decided to switch from defence to goalie after first putting on the pads in street hockey games with friends. It wasn’t a popular move with his parents.
“They weren’t too excited about the idea but they kind of went along with it,” he said.
The NHL didn’t really enter his radar until scouts started attending games while he was a senior in high school.
Once the Kings selected him in the third round of the 2005 draft, he knew his ultimate goal was getting closer.
“That’s the beginning,” said Quick, who attended UMass-Amherst for two years before turning pro. “You’re starting all over again. It’s like going to high school for the first time – you have new coaches to try and impress, you have new things you have to follow.
“You realize how much more you have to learn.”
The learning has continued even after he reached the NHL.
Quick was given the start in all four games on the Kings current road trip, registering wins in New Jersey, Washington and Ottawa. Those were important victories for the team and him personally.
“He’s grown very quickly in his time here,” Kings coach Terry Murray said over the weekend. “It’s a great opportunity for him and he’s taking advantage. He’s going to be better because of this group of games we’re playing on this road trip.”
Los Angeles concludes its road swing in Long Island on Tuesday. The team then returns home for games against Calgary (Thursday) and Edmonton (Saturday).
While talking about his path to the NHL, Quick manages to come across as equal parts confident and humble. He’s not surprised to have made it, but he’s not taking anything for granted either.
Life in the NHL is certainly different than what he experienced last season.
“They treat you a little better here,” Quick said.
His journey through the game has taken also some unexpected turns.
For example, Quick’s been credited with two career goals – one in college, the other in the ECHL – without ever needing to take a shot. In both cases, he was the last player to touch the puck before it went into an empty net.
Now that he’s reached the NHL, he harbours no secret hope of completing a career hat trick.
“I’ll just worry about stopping it for now,” said Quick.