The Los Angeles Kings announced the contract extension of goaltender Cal Petersen to a three-year deal. The deal comes in at a total value of $15 million, and will allow Petersen to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the deal. The American netminder will play the 2021-22 season on the final year of his entry-level deal, and will make $858,333, which should be a contract that Petersen outperforms. The Kings’ willingness to extend him so far in advance shows how highly they think of him and how important he is to the future of the organization.
Path to the NHL
Petersen was selected back in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft, and has paid his dues in terms of his path to the NHL. The Notre Dame product was stellar during his time in the NCAA, never having a goals-against average higher than 2.50, or a Save Percentage worse than .919. He turned pro in the 2017-18 season beginning his career in the AHL with the Ontario Reign, and appeared in 41 games, posting solid numbers in both the regular season and playoffs.
He struggled in his second season in the minors, playing in 38 games however, Petersen was still recalled by the Kings and made his NHL debut. He surprisingly fared much better at the NHL level, going 5-4-1 with a 2.61 GAA and .924 SV%. Petersen continued to see the bulk of the starts in the minors during the 2019-20 season before his second stint at the NHL level.
He burst onto the scene in the 2020-21 season after making the team out of training camp as the backup to starting goaltender Jonathan Quick. The two American netminders were expected to share the crease however an injury to Jonathan Quick allowed Petersen to get an extended run as the team’s No. 1. In 35 games Petersen put up a 9-18-5 record with a 2.89 GAA and .911 SV% while ranking eighth in the league in both shots faced and saves made.
Petersen was one of the biggest bright spots for the Kings last season, and proved his ability to carry a starter’s workload in goal. Despite playing for a competitive, but still young and rebuilding Kings team last season, he put up solid numbers, which shows how much he has developed and matured throughout his career.
Tandem Heading Into 2021-22 Season
Petersen is still on his entry-level deal, which allowed the Kings to conserve precious cap space this season and add other significant pieces to the roster to help the organization transition out of the rebuilding stage. The Kings will enter the season with two strong options in goal to lean on, with the younger Petersen carrying a much higher ceiling than his 35-year-old counterpart.
There are some concerns regarding Quick’s health and lingering groin issues, which gives the edge to Petersen to take on the bulk of the work especially should injuries occur. With what is expected to be a much stronger Kings lineup the 26-year-old goaltender should find himself with a much better record and could even see an improvement in his counting stats.
Goaltender of the Future
The extension comes in at a number slightly below Quick’s salary of $5.8 million, which suggests that the team is of the mindset that Petersen will overtake the number one goaltender role on the team. Quick has done a great job mentoring his teammate over the past few seasons, and has helped grow Petersen into a stable option for the team between the pipes.
Quick is under contract until the end of the 2022-23 season before he will become an unrestricted free agent at the age of 37. At that point, Petersen will be halfway through his newly signed extension and still in the prime of his career. The timeline of how Kings GM Rob Blake set up the contract’s expiry proves the team is ready to hand Petersen the keys to the crease as their bonafide number one moving forward.
I am a graduate of Seneca Colleges Civil Engineering Technology Program and have turned my obsession for sports into a lifestyle. I have been covering the Edmonton Oilers here on The Hockey Writers since 2019. I love fantasy sports, collecting sports memorabilia and listening to classic rock with a cold one or a coffee in my hand.