The recent suspension of goalie prospect Patrik Bartosak leaves the Kings goaltending depth exhausted. According to CapFriendly, the Kings now have only four goalies signed (one on a professional tryout) with the youngest being Jhonas Enroth at the age of 27.
New Hampshire Union Leader reported on Nov. 17 that Bartosak waived arraignment in a Manchester Circuit Court on 12 domestic-related charges while on a conditioning assignment with the Manchester Monarchs. The day following the incident, the Los Angeles Kings released a statement announcing the team has suspended Bartosak without pay and take the matter very seriously.
The suspension has no real effect on the Kings currently with two healthy goalies playing in both the NHL and the AHL. However, the cause for concern is in the future as young goalie prospects continue to hone in on their games and veteran players start becoming older. Jonathan Quick’s contract does not end until the 2022-23 season, however the netminder is currently 29 years old and will be 37 years old by the time that contract runs out. The recent suspension of Bartosak hampers the development of the Kings’ goaltending depth.
Goaltending Depth Before the Start of the Season
At the end of the 2014-15 NHL and AHL seasons, the Kings had three goalies in their prospect cupboard: Martin Jones, J.F. Berube and Bartosak. Jones was traded on draft day to the Boston Bruins with defensive prospect Colin Miller and the No. 13 first-round draft pick (Jakub Zboril) in exchange for Milan Lucic. Jones now plays for the Sharks, a team currently tied for first in the Pacific Division with the Kings. Jones was a restricted free-agent and the next goalie down the depth chart was Berube.
On Oct. 6 (right before the start of the season), Berube was claimed off waivers by the New York Islanders. Berube is 24 years old and played 52 games for the Monarchs last season helping lead the team to the Calder Cup Championship. When Berube was picked up, that left Bartosak as the remaining King’s drafted goalie other then Quick and signed to the team.
Bartosak, a native of the Czech Republic, was a former fifth-round draft pick by the Kings in 2011 and played 28 games for the Monarchs last season in addition to the final three games of the Calder Cup Final. Bartosak finished the AHL regular season with a 2.23 GAA and 0.919 save percentage. It was not only the fact that Bartosak was able to come in in the final games of the playoffs to help the Monarchs win, but the prospect has a pedigree of winning having played internationally winning the Czech U18 and U20 Championship and was a WHL goalie of the year with the Red Deer Rebels in 2012-13.
Kings’ Current Goaltending Depth
With 21 games into the regular season, the Kings have lost two Calder Cup Championship winning goalies and have lost three of the organization’s goalies in less than six months. The Kings did pick goalie Alec Dillon in the fifth-round of the 2014 draft, however, the 19-year-old is starting his first season of professional hockey with the Edmonton Oil Kings and has yet to receive an entry-level contract with the Kings.Currently playing for the Ontario Reign are NHL veterans Peter Budaj and Ray Emery. Budaj was invited to the Kings’ training camp on a professional tryout and signed with the Kings to a one-year contract. Emery played in 31 games for the Philadelphia Flyers and agreed to a tryout with the Reign on Oct. 10.
Budaj has played 11 games for the Reign posting a record of 9-1-1 with a 1.44 GAA and a 0.941 save percentage while Emery made his debut with the Reign on Halloween and has played a total of three games since that time allowing 10 goals against and a record of 1-1-1. Both goalies are 33 years old with their birthdays being separated by just 10 days.
The Kings’ goalies have played well for the teams so far into the season, but the future goaltending depth looks bleak as two of the goalies signed to the team are signed for only one year, one goalie is still on a professional tryout and the other goalie drafted by the Kings is only 19.
Cole R. Querry resides in Southern California. Having played hockey through college and a background in science and math, he promises to bring an objective analysis to the team and sport he loves.