Los Angeles Kings: 3 Trade Targets to Shake Up Goaltending Depth

The Los Angeles Kings sent shockwaves throughout the NHL last week when they decided to put goaltender Cal Petersen on waivers. He eventually cleared and was assigned to the Ontario Reign of the American Hockey League (AHL). Still, the bold move by general manager (GM) Rob Blake was quite the turn of events in Los Angeles.

Even with Petersen struggling to start the season, it was a surprise to see the Kings put him out there for any team to claim. The 28-year-old has two more seasons on his contract, paying him $5 million annually through the 2024-25 season. The Kings’ netminder holds a 10-team no-trade clause and would have some say if the team decided to make a move.

So far in 10 NHL appearances in 2022-23, Petersen has posted a 3.75 goals against average (GAA) and a .868 save percentage (SV%). This type of production is obviously not up to management’s expectations, so let’s explore the trade market should the Kings decide to shake up their goaltending depth.

Jack Campbell, Edmonton Oilers

Speaking of struggling goaltenders, Edmonton Oilers netminder Jack Campbell has also gotten off to a very slow start this season. He is in his first year with the Oilers after signing a five-year $25 million contract and so far in 13 appearances, the 30-year-old has posted a 4.12 GAA and a .872 SV%.

Jack Campbell Los Angeles Kings
Jack Campbell, Los Angeles Kings (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Campbell is a very familiar name to the Kings organization as he spent parts of four seasons with them, mostly as a backup to Jonathan Quick. With Quick in the final season of his contract and with Petersen struggling, this would be quite the development for the franchise to have this reunion with Campbell and give him the keys to the crease moving forward. Quick is likely to re-sign a short-term contract extension in LA, and the two could produce a nice tandem for the rest of this season and beyond.

Campbell holds a 10-team no-trade clause, however it’s very likely the Kings would make the approved list considering how familiar the goaltender is with the franchise. With both Petersen and Campbell making the same amount against the salary cap, this swap would be a lot easier to facilitate than people think. Is there interest from both sides? Likely not at this point, but this is certainly something to monitor moving forward this season.

Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks

This trade would cost the Kings more than just Petersen, however the move is worth considering as Vancouver Canucks netminder Thatcher Demko should be on their radar.

Thatcher Demko Vancouver Canucks
Thatcher Demko, Vancouver Canucks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The soon-to-be 27-year-old recently went down with an injury that’s expected to keep him out of the lineup for at least a month, however the Kings would have long-term plans for Demko. He also makes $5 million against the cap and is signed through the 2025-26 season.

Related: 3 Kings’ Draft Picks Who Didn’t Work Out in LA

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Demko does not hold any trade protection and could be moved at will. Unlike last season where he put up Vezina-type numbers, in 2022-23 that hasn’t continued. He has appeared in 15 games for the Canucks and has posted a 3-10-2 record with a 3.93 GAA and .883 SV%. Disappointing results, to say the least, and if the struggles continue after he returns from injury, Canucks management may consider their options via the trade market.

For the Kings, it would cost them more than just Petersen as Demko’s track record is much more established. Having said that, they have a number of young players and right-handed defensemen that the Canucks could have serious interest in. As such, a Petersen and Sean Walker package would be a solid conversation starter.

Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken

Seattle Kraken goalie Philipp Grubauer is another veteran who is signed long-term but hasn’t produced as expected this season. The 31-year-old German goalie is someone I would consider to be available via the trade market.

Philipp Grubauer Seattle Kraken
Philipp Grubauer, Seattle Kraken (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Grubauer is signed through the 2026-27 season at $5.9 million annually and he also holds a 10-team no-trade clause within his contract. So far this season, the veteran netminder has recorded a 2-2-1 record with a 3.40 GAA and a .868 SV%.

The Kraken signed Martin Jones to a one-year contract last summer and they are thankful they did as he has outperformed all other netminders for Seattle this season. However, he’s unlikely to be moved in this type of trade as both teams would likely be unwilling to move a goaltender with term on his contract for a pending free agent.

Grubauer is a goalie who has Stanley Cup Playoff experience as he’s seen postseason action with both the Colorado Avalanche and Washington Capitals. Of all three goalies mentioned within this article, he is likely the last option Blake and company would consider trading for.

Kings Will Give Petersen Another Shot at Redemption

Sending down Petersen to the AHL was about resetting his game and allowing him to play under less pressure and against lesser competition. So far, it’s worked. He’s won his first two starts and has posted an impressive 1.51 GAA and .947 SV%. Regardless of the AHL results, if the numbers don’t translate to NHL games, expect to see the Kings put out some feelers on the trade market before this season’s deadline.

It seems like all the struggling goalies across the NHL this season are signed long-term and for around $5 million annually. It’s significant because it increases the potential of a couple of teams swapping goalies and hoping a change of scenery does wonders for their game. Petersen, Campbell, Demko, and Grubauer fit this bill, and it will be fun to watch how things shake up if all four goaltenders can’t find their games in the coming weeks.

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