In this edition of Los Angeles Kings News & Rumors, I’ll be discussing the team’s recent cuts and what it means for the opening night roster, the announcement of their newest alternate jersey, and where Cal Petersen landed on The Athletic’s recent poll, ranking goalies.
Final Roster Moves
On Sunday the Kings made two more cuts that finalized their opening night roster, as forward Austin Wagner and defenseman Austin Strand were both placed on waivers. They both cleared, and were reassigned to the Ontario Reign on Monday. With Olli Maatta and Andreas Athanasiou supposedly starting the season on the IR, the team’s roster has now taken shape. Most notably, prospect Arthur Kaliyev forced his way onto the roster. He was massively impressive during the preseason, but it was the injuries to Athanasiou and Lias Andersson that really opened the door for him. Once both players are back, I imagine he will be reassigned to the Reign, although I doubt he’ll stay in the American Hockey League (AHL) for long.
Wagner’s future is particularly interesting to me, I wouldn’t be surprised if he was shopped around soon, as the Kings won’t want him taking ice time away from young players with the Reign. He is also locked into his $1.1 million contract, even in the minors, a figure I doubt the team wants to pay for someone in the AHL.
This also raises questions about what’s next for Austin Strand. With prospects like Jordan Spence and Helge Grans joining the organization this season, and others such as Brandt Clarke or Brock Faber coming soon, there is going to be a log jam at right defense for the Kings soon. I have to imagine the Kings are looking to move some of these fringe players that didn’t make the roster soon, and it will be interesting to see who they can, and can’t, move on.
New Alternate Jerseys
On Monday, the team announced their newest alternate jerseys. The team’s adizero Primegreen jerseys will debut on Nov. 17th, and will be worn 15 times throughout the season. They’re bringing back the 1990s Chevy Logo, with white gloves and a chrome helmet. The early reaction to these jerseys seems to be a positive one.
These jerseys are also made of high-performance recycled materials. The chrome helmets are a call-back to the helmets featured in the 2020 stadium series game. Overall, I think the team did good with these jerseys, I’ve always been a fan of the Chevy logo, and the white with silver and black color scheme works well. I’m generally not a huge fan of all-white gloves, but they look okay with these jerseys. So long as we never see the return of all-white pants, I’ll be happy.
Petersen Ranked 21st in Athletic Poll
Recently The Athletic published their goalie tiers list. This list takes the opinions from more than three dozen anonymous sources, which include a host of different experts, and uses them to rank the league’s starting goalies. Petersen ranked 21st, between Alex Nedeljkovic and Ilya Samsonov. The reviews on him were mixed, with some thinking he’s a future star for the Kings, and others thinking the opposite. One expert stated,
Not a big fan. I’m not a big fan…. There’s so much work to be done there. I think he’s just a stopgap personally. I don’t see him as the guy.(From: NHL Goalie Tiers 2021-22: Anonymous panel of GMs and coaches rates all 32 starters,” The Athletic NHL Staff, The Athletic, 10/11/21)
Regardless of opinion, the general consensus was he needs a full season as the team’s starter before he is properly ranked. We’re going to learn a lot about Petersen this season, as he will be given the majority of games this season. With the Kings hoping for a playoff return, his play will be crucial.
With an improved team in front of him, I expect Petersen to have a fantastic year. I think the Kings do as well, after showing faith in him with a 3-year, $15 million contract extension. I don’t think the Kings organization views him as a stopgap, as a former goalie in The Athletics poll called him, but the Kings were reportedly interested in drafting Jesper Wallstedt eighth overall in this past draft. I think this season will be huge in determining Petersen’s long-term future with the Kings. A mediocre season could see them target a top goalie prospect next summer.
My name is Austin Stanovich, as a lifelong player and fan I’m hoping to bring my own unique perspective on the hockey world, specifically covering the Los Angeles Kings. As a SoCal native I grew up a Kings fan, and after graduating from Long Beach State in 2020 I’ve joined The Hockey Writers crew as a columnist for the Kings.