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Jeff Zatkoff Waived, Will Likely Continue to Back Up Budaj

Quick isn’t ready, and Zatkoff can hang around for a limited time. Unless someone claims him, of course.

NHL: Detroit Red Wings at Los Angeles Kings Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Zatkoff has had a rough go of things in Los Angeles. After an auspicious debut in relief of the injured Jonathan Quick on Opening Night, nothing has gone right for the backup goalie. Since the New Year, he’s started twice, and in those starts he gave up seven goals on 39 shots. There was no question that Peter Budaj had surpassed him, and it was only a matter of time before he was waived.

This completes a perfect sweep of LA offseason signings being waived and/or sent to Ontario.

There’s a reason we used “and/or,” though. Is this a clear sign that Jonathan Quick is ready? No. So Jack Campbell is coming up to Los Angeles? Well, also no. Just because Zatkoff has been waived, it doesn’t mean he has to head to Ontario. The Kings can keep Zatkoff in Los Angeles for ten games (about three weeks of real time) before having to waive him again.

Why not just call up Cambell? Well, Jack has been thriving in the AHL; if they’re going to roll with Budaj every night anyway, there’s no point in pulling Campbell out of Ontario. There’s only one back-to-back between now and March 13, and according to Jon Rosen, LA’s target for Quick to return is the first half of March. March 14 against Arizona seems like a nice day to get Quick back, don’t you think?

Of course, all that is moot if a team decides to pick up Zatkoff from waivers. It seems unlikely, though, given how nightmarish his results have been this season.

on the bright side, look at that shorthanded save percentage!

Likeliest outcome: Zatkoff sticks around for a couple more weeks, heads to Ontario when Jonathan Quick is finally healthy, and gives the overworked Jack Campbell some rest down the stretch for the Reign. Zatkoff is a better goaltender than he showed in his time here, and if there’s any reason for optimism for Zatkoff, he only needs to look at all the good Budaj and Campbell got out of their Ontario stints.