Flyers unlikely to buy out Cal Petersen's contract

Cap Petersen struggled in a small sample size in Philadelphia. Despite that and his sizeable cap hit, the Flyers are unlikely to use a buyout on his contract.
Seattle Kraken v Philadelphia Flyers
Seattle Kraken v Philadelphia Flyers / Mitchell Leff/GettyImages

When Cal Petersen was acquired in the three-way Ivan Provorov deal, he hoped for a fresh start. His play declined after he looked like the Kings goaltender of the future. He had been locked into a three-year extension but only played one season for the organization under that contract. Most of it was spent buried in the AHL as he struggled mightily in his first 10 games.

The Flyers and Blue Jackets needed a third team to broker their deal. In came the Los Angeles Kings. They dumped Petersen and Sean Walker, another cap casualty, onto the Flyers. Walker flourished with Philadelphia and was later flipped to Colorado at the trade deadline. A fresh start did not happen for Petersen.

He did appear in five games for the Flyers but continued to post poor numbers. He won two games while putting up a 3.90 GAA and a .864. Petersen was sent to the AHL once more where he helped lead the Phantoms to their second straight appearance in the playoffs. They defeated the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in three games, partly thanks to Petersen's effort.

The Phantoms were later knocked out of the playoff by the defending champion Hershey Bears. With the offseason in full effect for both the Flyers and Phantoms, that has led to questions on how Philadelphia will move forward. Some have wondered about Petersen's status after Ivan Fedotov and Alexei Kolosov arrived in North America. Could they buy out the final year of his contract? Should they even do it?

The Flyers have Tony DeAngelo's buyout ($1,666,667) on their cap in the upcoming season. They also have retained the salary ($3,571,428) on Kevin Hayes' contract. With Petersen buried in the minors, they get a minor cap relief but still have him on the books for 3.85M. If they were to buy out the final year, they would have a cap hit of 1M in 2024-25 and 2M in 2025-26. While that is not a lot to deal with, money adds up. The Flyers have just over 500K in cap space, though the number will increase with Ryan Ellis on LTIR. The team could also move Ryan Johansen to LTIR if the rumors of him never playing again are true. That would give them over 10M in cap space.

Turns out the Flyers aren't expected to go that route. And it's a smart decision on their part. With Felix Sandstrom likely heading toward free agency, the Flyers need someone to pair with Kolosov in the AHL. Kolosov appeared in two games for the Phantoms this season, posting a 3.03 GAA and a .885 SV%. He was the backup to Petersen during the playoffs. Rumors arose that he could return to the KHL after having trouble adjusting, but those rumors are being denied. While Kolosov's development should be a priority next season, having a veteran like Petersen with him is beneficial. He can learn the ropes in North America while having someone who has been in the league right next to him.

With Sam Ersson and Fedotov likely to be the duo in the NHL, holding onto Petersen gives the Flyers a veteran to call up in case of an injury or any other emergency circumstances. Ersson is still young and Fedotov has three games of experience. Add Kolosov, who has not appeared in the NHL, and you have an extremely young and inexperienced group. Having Petersen around is important, even as a mentor.