NHL Rumor Mill – October 12, 2019
Should the Kings consider trading Jonathan Quick? Is Maple Leafs coach Mike Babcock feeling the heat in Toronto? Check out the latest in today’s NHL rumor mill.
QUICK’S POOR START A CONCERN
THE ATHLETIC: Lisa Dillman and Josh Cooper examined Jonathan Quick’s poor performance in his first two games. The veteran Kings goaltender gave up 14 goals for a league-worst 7.17 goals-against average and .750 save percentage.
Some on social media believe the Kings should trade or demote Quick. Dillman and Cooper believe it won’t be easy shopping a struggling goalie with a big contract and a long history of injuries. Nevertheless, they point out the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers swapped two high-salaried players (James Neal for Milan Lucic) this summer.
NBC analyst Keith Jones suggests that a trade is possible if a rival club has a goalie coach who’s confident they can help Quick regain his once-stellar form.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: We can’t dismiss the possibility of the Kings finding a trade partner for Quick but I doubt we’ll see it happening at this stage. His situation could be worth keeping an eye on as this season progresses. I expect the Kings will be patient with Quick but could give more starts to backup Jack Campbell or recall promising Cal Petersen at some point.
BABCOCK FEELING THE HEAT IN TORONTO?
TORONTO STAR: Damien Cox wonders if the Maple Leafs’ wobbly play thus far could put head coach Mike Babcock on the hot seat. While Cox notes that Babcock didn’t build the current roster, he’s responsible to make it a winner.
The Leafs invested big bucks in a handful of stars, leaving little salary-cap space to address their defensive issues and goaltending depth. “It’s only Thanksgiving, only five games have been played, yet already there’s a whiff of urgency in the air,” writes Cox.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: It hasn’t taken long for some Leafs followers to wonder if it’s too early to fire Babcock. He deserves his share of criticism for his handling of the roster, but it was general manager Kyle Dubas’ responsibility to address the club’s weaknesses. I thought the additions of Tyson Barrie and Cody Ceci would shore up the right side of the Leafs blueline. So far, there’s little evidence of improvement.
It’s still very early in the season and the Leafs enter this weekend with a .500 record (2-2-1). There’s plenty of time for this club to improve. But if they’re still playing .500 hockey (or worse) in a month, Babcock will bear the brunt of the blame.