The Los Angeles Kings just can’t catch a break. As they continue to deal with the absence of Jonathan Quick, they now have another goaltender hitting the shelf with a long-term injury. Jack Campbell has suffered a torn meniscus that requires surgery and will be out four to six weeks. In his place, rookie netminder Cal Petersen has been recalled while Matt Luff has been sent back to the Ontario Reign.
The fact that Campbell and Quick both suffered injuries to their meniscus is laughable, at least given the struggles of the Kings this season without a reliable presence in net. The team now turns to a duo of Petersen and Peter Budaj, who were supposed to be the AHL tandem this season. The younger Petersen is a top goaltending prospect in the league, but has just a single season of professional experience after leaving college early and signing with Los Angeles. That happened in the summer of 2017 after he snubbed the Buffalo Sabres, the team who drafted him 129th overall in 2013.
Petersen isn’t the biggest netminder in the league, but has an uncanny ability to read the play and react quickly to pucks in tight. He rode those skills to an outstanding college career at Notre Dame and ended up posting a .910 save percentage and 23-14-2 record in his first season in the AHL. That was good enough to get him named to the AHL All-Star game, though the Reign were not able to get past the first round of the playoffs. This season hasn’t been as kind to Petersen, but there is still plenty of ability to get excited about as a Kings fan.
Unfortunately, even an outstanding debut for Petersen may not be enough to turn around the season for Los Angeles, who sit dead last in the NHL with just 11 points on the season. That’s thanks to a 5-10-1 record and league-worst 33 goals scored on the year. Even with the addition of Ilya Kovalchuk the Kings just haven’t been able to score enough, something that will need to be addressed before they can really compete for the playoffs once again.