GREENBURGH — Jonathan Quick likely will be a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame someday. Right now, the 37-year-old is trying to make the adjustment from being one of the best goaltenders of his generation to being the perfect backup to Igor Shesterkin.
“I don’t know if I’d say it’s so much of an adjustment,’’ Quick said Monday as the Rangers started their second week of training camp. “My job’s still the same: When I get a chance to get out there, you’re trying to win hockey games, right? So from that standpoint, that’s the way I’m going to approach it.’’
Quick’s 375 NHL victories are second-most among American-born goaltenders behind Ryan Miller’s 391. But playing a backup role, there’s no telling how long it might take him to get the 17 wins he needs to pass Miller, or the 25 he would need to get to 400. He had 16 wins last season, when he made 41 total appearances (36 starts) for the Los Angeles Kings and Vegas Golden Knights. Assuming Shesterkin stays healthy, Quick won’t come close to making that many starts or appearances.
Last season was the roughest of Quick’s 14-year career. He finished with a combined record of 16-15-6 for Vegas and Los Angeles, which dealt him to Columbus (which then relayed him to the Golden Knights) at the trade deadline. His 3.41 goals-against average and .882 save percentage were the worst of his career, not counting the three games he played for the Kings in 2007-08.
Quick did win his third Stanley Cup with Vegas, serving as an insurance goaltender behind Logan Thompson, Adin Hill and Laurent Brossoit. And after leading the Kings to Cup titles in 2012 (when he was the Conn Smythe Trophy winner) and 2014 (against the Rangers), he insisted it wasn’t weird winning a championship ring while in street clothes.
“You find yourself in that [backup] role, so you commit to that role,’’ he said. “I do feel like I helped some of those goalies going in there, especially since the group didn’t have much playoff experience.’’
Quick, who signed a one-year, $825,000 (plus bonuses) deal with the Rangers, the team he rooted for as a youngster while growing up in Milford, Connecticut, played his first game as a Blueshirt in Sunday’s preseason opener against the Bruins in Boston. He played 30:26, allowing all three goals (on 14 shots) in a 3-0 loss.
“There’s a couple there I wish I played a little different, but considering it’s the first five-on-five action in a few months . . . You’re just trying to get your reads right, trying to make sure you know where all 10 [skaters] are,’’ he said. “At the end of the day, you’re getting reps in, so you’re trying to make the most of those reps.’’
“I thought he was good,’’ coach Peter Laviolette said. “I just I wish we were a little bit better [as a team]. It was too loose. They got through us too easy . . . If you need your goaltender to make six ‘10-Bell’ saves, you’re asking a lot of your goaltender. So there’s things that we could have done better in front of him.’’
Mika Zibanejad, who left Sunday morning’s intrasquad scrimmage with an upper-body injury, returned to practice, wearing a non-contact red jersey. “It was good to see him out there today,’’ Laviolette said . . . Forward Brennan Othmann, who did not practice Sunday because of an upper-body injury, also returned.