It’s no secret the LA Kings are looking to make upgrades to their lineup after a frustrating exit in the first round of the playoffs. But in order to improve, cap space must be made available for general manager Rob Blake.

Perhaps the biggest problem for the Kings heading into the summer is the underwhelming play of goaltender Cal Petersen and the contract tied to him. Petersen has two years left on a deal with a cap hit of $5 million. A hefty sum for a goalie that finished in the AHL this past season.

“We have to get Cal to become an NHL goalie. That’s what we signed him to do.” Those were Rob Blake’s words when asked about his thoughts on Petersen heading into the offseason. That statement was met with eye-rolls by fans, who believe a duo of Petersen and Copley going into next season probably isn’t good enough. And they’re right, it isn’t.

So where do you look to find a team that would be willing to absorb Petersen’s deal? Well, a prime destination could be the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Blackhawks are at the beginning stages of a rebuild. Even though they hit the jackpot winning the Connor Bedard sweepstakes, they’re still quite a few years away from playoff contention.

With the Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews contracts coming off the books, Chicago could be looking for deals to get them to the cap floor next season. Enter Cal Petersen. Someone who played his college hockey not far from Chicago at the University of Notre Dame.

Blackhawks GM Kyle Davidson did a move much like this last July with Toronto when he acquired goaltender Petr Mrazek and the two years left on his deal at a $3.8 million cap hit along with a first-round pick for a second-round pick going back the other way. The deal helped the Maple Leafs shed some much-needed cap space for themselves.

Now the Kings don’t have their 2023 first-rounder to attach to Cal and I don’t see them trading their 2024 first. So you’re probably at a blue chip prospect along with Cal heading to Chi-town. A tough pill to swallow if you’re LA, but necessary when looking at the bigger picture.

One move I could see being made is Cal Petersen, a high-end prospect, and a 2nd round pick heading to Chicago for goaltender Petr Mrazek and forward Collin Blackwell. Mrazek and Blackwell each have one year left on their deals at $3.8 million and $1.2 million respectively, making it a wash in terms of money next season while offloading the final year of Petersen’s deal offering the Kings more flexibility in the future.

LA Kings

LA Kings

Mrazek was hampered by injuries the last two seasons, but he’s put up good-to-decent numbers in the past. And a Copley/Mrazek duo would give Kings fans more confidence in their goaltending. As for Blackwell, he’s an excellent penalty killer (something the Kings definitely could use) and would slot right into the bottom six of LA.

This hypothetical trade upgrades the LA Kings goaltending and bottom six in one fell swoop. Big-time needs for the team, but there is still more work that would need to be done by general manager Rob Blake.

(Featured Image Credit: The Canadian Free Press)

6 thoughts on “LA Kings: Blackhawks are a prime trade partner for Cal Petersen

  1. I’ll pass. Would rather trade Cal, West, and Iafallo to the Flyers for Provorov. That would allow us to re sign our trade deadline pickups making our D and goalies better.

  2. Hey Russell, you didn’t give Joe Patarino credit for the Cal to Chicago trade idea lol. But you added the important nuances to his idea of Mzarek & Blackwell, so you get credit too. Wish Blake would read this article by you because he seems hell-bent on making Cal an NHL goalie, probably to make up for his bad signing. GKG!!!

  3. Not happening and laughable if you spend ten seconds considering organizational depth, needs and value. The Blackhawks have 4 goaltenders under contracts and three of them are either expected to be in the NHL next year as the #1 (Arvid Soderblom) or on their way (Jaxson Stauber, Drew Commesso). There’s no reason for them to bring in a mediocre goalie and use cap space unnecessarily.
    For the Kings, breaking even financially while adding a 13th forward and injury prone backup goalie is counterproductive.

    1. I agree that the Hawks will likely move Soderblom up to the NHL (which probably means they don’t re-sign Alex Stalock, which kind of sucks given how well he played, but…) and then go with Commesso and Stauber in the AHL next year. For ECHL depth, they could sign someone or draft someone along the lines of Ben Gaudreau, Tomas Suchanek, or Thomas Milic in the late rounds of this year’s draft and send him right to the ECHL. They don’t really NEED Petersen.

      My read of the Kings isn’t that they need a depth forward too much, but a left-shot defenseman might be handy. One team that might be able to work with the Kings is the San Jose Sharks. If they look to put a veteran next to Kaapo Kahkonen not named James Reimer (he is not returning) and don’t, instead, re-sign Eetu Makiniemi and Strauss Mann and have the two of them split time in the NHL and AHL (it’d be throwing those two into the deep end, but I wouldn’t be against it), then the Sharks trading, say, Radim Simek for Cal Petersen could be feasible for both. It helps LA get cap space off the books and they get a serviceable left-handed NHL defenseman. If Petersen struggles with the Sharks, so be it–the Sharks aren’t going to be good next year. The Sharks can accept that risk for two seasons. There is the risk that Petersen rediscovers his top form with San Jose, but how high are those odds really? But, for San Jose, it opens up space to put Henry Thrun with Mario Ferraro on their second d-pair. (Ferraro played well when he was paired with Thrun). Simek only has one year left on his contract. Even if the Kings re-sign Gavrikov, Simek would still be useful to the Kings. Before Laurent Brossoit went down to injury in the playoffs, I would have said the Sharks should just sign Brossoit, but now there’s doubts with his health again. Goalies like Alex Nedeljkovic, Alex Lyon, and Stalock are also availabe on the UFA market (I don’t see San Jose getting into a bidding war for Joonas Korpisalo), but moving Simek to make room for Thrun could be more useful. If the Kings needed a goalie added to such a trade, San Jose might be able to add Magnus Chrona (I don’t see them trading Georgi Romanov–the Sharks seem to be purposefully creating a Russian contingent on the Barracuda next season and to potentially play together in the NHL some day). Not saying Romanov is guaranteed to be NHL caliber someday, but I don’t think they signed him merely to trade him.

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