Cal Petersen didn’t have one thing that stood out to him as the reason for his recent struggles. He had no regrets on what happened in the past and was able to look back fondly on his time with the Los Angeles Kings before his trade to the Philadelphia Flyers.
"“I feel really good going into this. I think it’s awesome opportunity. I’m very fortunate to have come to a place like Philadelphia. I think they’re building something really special here and it’s an awesome hockey market. It’s super exciting for me, it’s really motivating. Definitely feel re-energized.” Petersen said on Sunday."
Petersen was once looked at as the potential “heir apparent” to Jonathan Quick. He posted solid numbers during his first few seasons with the Kings as he began to gain more frequent starts during the 2020-21 season. Despite winning only nine games, he posted a .911 SV% in his 35 games, his third season in a row with an above .900 SV%. He also appeared in seven games for Team USA at the World Championships where he was named the top goaltender at tournament, holding the best GAA (1.29) and SV% (.953) to lead the USA to a bronze medal.
The Kings signed him to a three year extension after the season, giving him a massive pay raise to go along with it. Petersen continued to put up solid numbers in 37 games. He won a career high 20 games that season while posting three shutouts as well. He maintained a 2.89 GAA, though dipping down to a .895 SV%. There was some signs of inconsistency showing in his game, however, allowing Quick to regain the starting job after it seemed as if it was being given to Petersen. Quick would lead the Kings back to the playoffs for the first time in four years and appeared in all seven games against the Oilers.
With his games increasing over the years, it seemed as if he was becoming more capable of being a starting goaltender. Quick’s time in Los Angeles appeared to be coming to an end as it looked like Petersen would be the one to take over for him. But last season was one to forget. Petersen appeared in just 10 games at the NHL level and struggled mightily the entire way. His GAA jumped to 3.75, the worst of his career. He spent the majority of the season in the AHL where his numbers, while better, were still nothing to write home about.
Pheonix Copley was given a chance as was the newly-acquired Joonas Korpisalo when the Kings decided to trade Quick to Columbus. After being given a $5 million extension, Petersen was now being buried in the minors. Now he comes into a situation with the Flyers where there will be plenty of competition for the backup goaltending spot. It’s one that Petersen is happy to be involved in.
"”I’m excited to show where I can fit. I’m fine with coming into camp and coming into a situation where I have to earn it. I feel really comfortable in that position. I wasn’t coming in here to have anything guaranteed or any promises being made. I just want to be able to win every opportunity that I can and help this team win hockey games this year.”"
With two more years left on his contract, Petersen is looking for a massive bounce back season. He will certainly be given the opportunity to show that his inconsistent ways are not the goaltender he truly is. He will be looking to show the Flyers that he is capable of helping them turn things around and giving them an option that they can count on when needed. He will have to prove all of that to John Tortorella, someone who isn’t afraid to tell it like it is when he feels like a player is not playing to his standards.
That doesn’t matter to Petersen, who is excited to get to know Tortorella and feels that the two align in the way they look at the game.
"”I think his style of coaching aligns with a way that I like to be coached — direct and to the point. Obviously a no BS guy. I’m excited to witness that firsthand. He’s obviously a guy I really respect and has a lot of history. I’m really looking forward to that.”"
He will have to fend off Sam Ersson, who burst onto the scene for the Flyers this past season, and Felix Sandstrom, who could be looking at one of his last opportunities at the NHL level. The competition will be high as Petersen has plenty to prove this season.