The Philadelphia Flyers wasted no time this offseason swapping out unfavored veterans for draft picks and prospects. As is the cost of doing business though, the Flyers had to take on a veteran with a hefty salary to make things work.
The Philadelphia Flyers acquired former Los Angeles Kings goalie Cal Petersen via the Ivan Provorov trade, and it’s easy to see why the Kings were willing to cut ties with Petersen so quickly. After once being seen as the heir to Jonathan Quick in the short-term, Cal Petersen had two consecutive seasons (2021-22 and 2022-23) with a save percentage below 0.900. That’s just not good enough for a goalie making $5 million annually.
Cal Petersen’s previous successes in Los Angeles came in rather small sample sizes. Petersen posted a 0.924 save percentage in 11 games in 2018-19, and kept the momentum rolling with a 0.922 in 2019-20. In his first rodeo with the full-time gig in 2020-21, Petersen regressed to the mean with a 0.911.
Cal Petersen performed even worse in 2022-23 than in 2021-22 in fewer games, even though the Kings were a pretty good team for most of the last season. As a result, Petersen found himself in the AHL with the Ontario Reign for the first time since the 2019-20 season. His situation reeks of a lack of confidence and a need for a fresh start.
Luckily, the Philadelphia Flyers will be able to afford him just that, if he can earn it. It’s unclear whether or not the Flyers will move incumbent starter Carter Hart, and backup Felix Sandstrom was poor in his 20 games at the NHL level last season. At his current cap hit, no team will (should) be willing to take Cal Petersen off of the Flyers’ hands, but he’s also only got two years remaining on his contract. It would make the most sense for the Flyers to try to rehab Petersen’s trade value and confidence whilst Sandstrom and Sam Ersson hold it down with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
With two really bad seasons in a row, this could be Cal Petersen’s last chance to find or audition for a home in the NHL.