The Los Angeles Kings have secured one of their young goaltenders for several years, signing Cal Petersen to a three-year contract. The deal carries an average annual value of $858,333 and is a two-way deal in 2019-20.
Petersen, 24, is a very interesting player to watch for the Kings the next several years. Signed as a free agent after he decided not to agree to a contract with the Buffalo Sabres in 2017, Petersen has now played two seasons in the minor leagues and made his NHL debut when the Kings were without any goaltenders at one point. In 11 games at that level he recorded a .924 save percentage and 5-4-1 record despite the team not having a good year. Considered a legitimate NHL prospect, a three-year deal locks him in at a huge bargain if the team decides he’s ready to take on some of the load.
His presence, along with that of 27-year old Jack Campbell, creates a fascinating situation in Los Angeles. Veteran starter Jonathan Quick still has four years left on his contract that carries a $5.8MM cap hit, and is a franchise icon that helped them to two Stanley Cup runs including a Conn Smythe trophy in 2012. Quick is one of the most accomplished American-born goaltenders in NHL history, but is also now 33, coming off years of injuries and just posted an .888 save percentage through 46 games.
Quick’s contract comes with a large cap hit, but drops dramatically in actual salary after this season. In the last three years of the contract the veteran netminder is owed just $9MM total, and amazingly he has no trade protection in the 10-year deal. If the Kings decided to move on, Petersen could be in line to take on at least some of the starting responsibility if they deem him ready. The question is whether that would be an improvement, especially since Campbell is scheduled for unrestricted free agency of his own next summer and likely will look for a substantial raise.
Either way, a three-year deal gives Petersen some stability and keeps him in the organization he chose after leaving college. It will also take him right to UFA status in 2022, the earliest he could have been eligible for it.