The Kings have been without backup goaltender Pheonix Copley for nearly a month now and they won’t be getting him back this season. John Hoven of Mayor’s Manor was the first to report that the netminder has undergone successful ACL surgery which will keep him out for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. The team has subsequently confirmed the news.
The North Pole native was a major bright spot for Los Angeles last season, coming up from the minors to pick up 24 victories in just 37 games played, helping to stabilize what had been an uncertain goaltending situation until Joonas Korpisalo was acquired at the trade deadline. That helped earn Copley a one-year, $1.5MM contract extension last February.
But things hadn’t gone as well for the 31-year-old this year. Before being injured, Copley struggled in his first eight starts of the season, posting a 3.16 GAA with a .870 SV%, leading to some speculation that they could once again look to the trade market as they did a year ago to try to shore up their second-string option behind Cam Talbot.
For the time being, veteran David Rittich will serve as Talbot’s backup with Aaron Dell joining their farm team in Ontario to back-fill that spot. But with Copley’s contract now destined to remain on LTIR, they may be able to use some of that money to try to acquire an upgrade on Rittich in the second half of the season. Failing that, they may at least be able to keep an extra player or two on the active roster once winger Viktor Arvidsson can return from his back injury which has had him on LTIR for the entire season so far.