The net has been a tough spot to be for Los Angeles Kings goaltenders this year, as both Jonathan Quick and Jeff Zatkoff have battled injuries all year. That might be coming to an end though, as according to Helene Elliott of the LA Times, the team has sent down Jack Campbell to the AHL following the news that Zatkoff will return this weekend.
Originally injured on October 22nd at practice, Zatkoff had been out of the lineup for almost a month. The Kings had to turn to Peter Budaj and Campbell, their planned AHL tandem, to fill in for the first month. Budaj received all fourteen starts however, Campbell only seeing the net in relief on November 1st. Obviously, he wasn’t trusted as well as the long-time NHL veteran. Budaj put up a strong-enough .914 save percentage over that stretch.
Zatkoff returning doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll take the starting job away from Budaj, though I imagine he would be in line for more work than Campbell. The former Pittsburgh Penguins netminder carries a career .912 save percentage and 2.72 GAA, but has never started more than 18 games in a single NHL season. Budaj, on the other hand is just two shy of 200 career starts, though has been relegated to the AHL in recent seasons.
Either way, the Kings have to figure out a way to start winning hockey games, as they are 8-9-1 and fourth in the Pacific Division.