Los Angeles Kings netminder Cal Petersen has had a rough go of it the past few NHL seasons.
Once appointed as the successive Kings’ number-one goaltender, he has fallen on hard times over the past couple of years.
His stats suffered to the point of being sent to the AHL Ontario Reign. He has spent an entire season with the Reign and has played well. However, has he played well enough to be the full-time backup in Los Angeles next season?
Petersen was signed as a free agent by the Kings on July 1, 2017. Petersen had plenty of promise when he arrived on the main roster. He played well but did not exceed expectations and was seen as a goaltender with work to do. He showed glimpses of greatness but had more games where he faltered under pressure.
After a few seasons of underwhelming performances, Petersen cleared waivers and was sent to the Ontario reign on December 1, 2022. He would spend the rest of the season in the AHL, looking to reinvent himself.
Petersen had played only five games with the Kings, posting a 3-2 record with a 3.75 GAA and a .868 save percentage. He seemed to play somewhat better in Ontario, playing 40 games with a 16-20-4 record and a 2.88 GAA and a .904 save percentage, and two shutouts.
Along with his success in Ontario, Petersen recently had some success at the 2023 IIHF World Championships. Playing for the U.S.A., he played in three games, posting a 3-0 record with a GAA of 0.72 and a save percentage of .956.
Petersen had signed a 3-year/$15 million contract with an AAV of $5 million. This included a $7 million signing bonus and a modified no-trade clause, meaning he has a 10-team list of teams he would like to go to.
General manager Rob Blake has a decision to make about Petersen’s future in Los Angeles. Does Petersen finally have what it takes to be a successful backup with the Kings? Would it be better for Blake to trade Petersen and eat some of his contract? Or maybe let him play in Ontario one more season to see if he can continue his upward spiral and be successful again?
Either way, Los Angeles needs to see what their backup role will be in the 2023-24 season. The goaltenders going into next season are Pheonix Copley and Cal Petersen. Joonas Korpisalo is now a UFA and could re-sign, but it is unlikely. Copley and Petersen are both running out of time on their contract, as Petersen has two years left, and Copley is coming into the final season of his.