Jonathan Quick has had a resurgent year so far, but if the Kings are going anywhere this season, they need more out of Cal Petersen.
The 2021-2022 season was supposed to be when Jonathan Quick passed the torch to Cal Petersen as the LA Kings‘ number-one goalie. At the start of the season, Petersen had just signed a contract extension worth $5 million AAV for a total of three years, and it seemed like he was ready to take the next step to become the Kings’ starter.
In his exit interview last year, Petersen was not shy about articulating his goal in the NHL, “I want to be a number one goalie. I want to be the guy to win games.” In order to do this with the Kings, however, Petersen needs to outproduce a potential future Hall-of-Famer in Jonathan Quick.
Bill Ranford, the Kings’ longtime goalie coach, recently said of Quick, ‘We have always said everybody is looking at Cal as the next guy, or somebody like Cal as the next guy. But until somebody knocks Quickie off that throne, it is still his job.”
Jonathan Quick is in the twilight of his career due to his age and injuries. But he has been reluctant to relinquish his position and has shown it in his play as of late, posting a 2.09 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. As Quick has stepped up his game this season. Petersen, on the other hand, has struggled so far, recording a 3.10 goals-against average and an .893 save percentage.
Right now, Quick is on pace to start 49 games. This number is likely to increase given the number of starts he has seen recently. While it is great that Quick looks like he did 10 years ago, he is still about to turn 36 and the Kings can’t realistically look to him to start 55-60 games anymore. Despite Quick’s resurgence, Petersen still needs to lessen Quick’s workload by starting at least 35-40 games this year.
At the moment, Petersen has not played well enough to earn those starts. It was a strict 50/50 split between the two of them earlier in the season. But now, Quick looks like he has taken over the crease for the Kings, starting each of their previous three games.
This is not the recipe for success. Even though the Kings are benefiting at the moment, if the Kings make the playoffs and Quick is their starter, he needs to be fresh.
Cal Petersen has to start improving his play so the Kings can have success down the road. He is their goalie of the future, and though his contract extension does not kick in until next year, he needs to start playing like the $5-million man the LA Kings made him.