The Los Angeles Kings are in a dogfight with the Edmonton Oilers. The series is close, and the Kings’ goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo, is mainly responsible for their success. Korpisalo is well-adjusted to his surroundings in Los Angeles and makes himself quite comfortable. How far can his play take the Kings? We are about to find out.
Korpisalo was acquired with defenseman Vladislav Gavrikov from the Columbus Blue Jackets for goaltender Jonathan Quick since his arrival. He has played exceptionally well and has the Kings in a position to do some special things in the playoffs. The 6-foot-3 and 193-pound goaltender from Pori, Finland, has emerged as the number one goaltender on the Los Angeles Kings and is showing how he earned that spot. While backup goaltender Pheonix Copley had 24 wins in the regular season, Korpisalo has more experience in both the regular season and playoffs. Korpisalo has taken this Kings team and put them on his back into a difficult Oilers team in the first round of the playoffs.
In the regular season, Korpisalo played 11 games with a 7-3-1 record, a 2.13 GAA, and a .92 save percentage. In the playoffs, he is 2-3 with a 3.49 GAA and a .904 save percentage. Remember, the Oilers finished above the Kings in the Pacific Division and have one of the more elite offenses in the entire league. Although his play has spoken for itself, Korpisalo may have to speak after the season is over.
At the end of the season, Korpisalo and the Los Angeles Kings will have to talk contract, as he will be a UFA. He is currently playing under a 1-year and $1.3 million contract. The 28-year-old would have the option to come back or test the free agent market for more money. The Los Angeles Kings and general manager Rob Blake would be wise to bring him back on a long-term deal, regardless of how this season ends. He has earned that right to come back as a full-time starter.
Korpisalo has earned the respect of his teammates and the organization. He battles every time on the ice, has excellent rebound control, and can play 60 games annually. Korpisalo has had a nice run in a Kings jersey, and it would be nice to see him between the pipes on opening night next season.
Photo: Helene Elliott/LA Times, Zach Dooley/LAKingsInsider